Fire officials say the department is among the first big-city agencies to install the device, called a Lucas 2, into every ambulance. The action comes after a trial run that began in October.
Deputy Chief Gary Ludwig told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/YyPLW6) that Lucas 2 was used 166 times and revived 38 patients, giving it a success rate of 23 percent. That's a big increase from the 5 percent success rate, which is close to the national average -- that they had without it.
"What we want to do is be on the cutting edge," Fire director Alvin Benson said. "It's all about improving the quality of care for our community and our visitors and improving survival rates."
Paramedic and firefighter Evan Mottley credits paramedics' quick response and the Lucas 2 for restoring a man's pulse in January before they got to a hospital.
"CPR is very physical," Mottley said. "When done correctly, you would have to swap out with another person because you get tired and can't perform quality chest compressions. This machine does them perfectly and frees up two men to do other things like start an IV or secure the person's airways."
Paramedic and firefighter Dean Allen also had praises for the device.
"Imagine being on the monkey bars, trying to perform CPR one-handed, and being swung around because the driver has to stop, speed up and make turns," Allen said. "Now I can wear a seat belt, and CPR gets done without needing three other people in the back with me. With this device, life is so much easier."
Lt. Ed Jeter says blood is circulated through the body with each chest compression.
"If you stop compressions to move a patient or administer medication, you lose all the work that you've done," Jeter said.
Memphis had 15 devices, which cost $13,500 each, at the end of March and planned to outfit the other ambulances over the next few weeks.
Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com