New device can perform CPR for as long as necessary

Desoto Chest Device

DESOTO -- There is a three-week span of time that 53-year-old Tim McDarby doesn't remember.

"I know you're a baseball fan and I want to tell you that the cubs have won the World Series," said McDarby, recalling an interaction with his doctor.

It was no joke the father and husband had collapsed in his yard on a Monday in October of 2016 while having a heart attack.

"I didn't know what to think... is he messing with me?" McDarby recalled.

"Hearing my mom say, 'Kelly wait outside, dad needs an ambulance.' That's probably the scariest thing I've ever heard," said McDarby's 21-year-old daughter Kelly.

He'd be out for three weeks after that, but it's what happened in the first 19 minutes of his heart attack that saved his life.

"Nineteen minutes, I've never heard of it. I've been a firefighter since 1987, a paramedic since 1990, and I've never experienced anything like this." said DeSoto Fire Chief Jerry Duffield.

Duffield's crew performed CPR on McDarby for 19 minutes -- a new record set not by a firefighter, but by a piece of lifesaving equipment called a Lucas device.

The device is attached to a gurney and allows for a mechanical arm to pump one hundred beats per minute for as long as necessary.

Last week Darby got to see the device at the DeSoto Fire Department in person for the first time.

"It saved my life, there is no doubt about it," McDarby said.

The gear was brand new to the DeSoto Fire department, and McDarby's call was the first time they'd ever used it on a patient.

"To do accurate compressions at the rate that we need to do them [and] at the depth, it would have been almost physically impossible for 19 minutes -- almost impossible," Duffield said.

The machine kept McDarby alive long enough to begin fighting for his own life. He woke up three weeks later inside a Dallas hospital room.

"The picture starts to get bigger and you're still a small picture," he says. "Focused in that moment, and it starts to overwhelm you."

Little moments he says -- like remembering how much it means to have a heart that beats on its own. 

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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