Helmsley Charitable Trust providing support for Monument Health, Midwest hospitals during COVID-19 pandemic

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Monument Health received some help Monday from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust in its fight against COVID-19.

The trust announced a multi-million dollar effort to save lives of patients and protect the healthcare workers that are putting themselves in harms way while caring for the infected patients.

A $196,164 grant will fund the purchase of 16 LUCAS mechanical chest compression devices for Monument Health.

A total of $4,711,481  will be funded to distribute across five upper-Midwestern states to pay for 367 LUCAS mechanical CPR machines that will be sent to hospitals who are caring for patients during the pandemic and in the future.

“These devices are vital because we don’t want frontline healthcare workers to choose between trying to save a patient or risking exposure to themselves and others to the coronavirus,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “LUCAS has been a proven, effective tool in saving lives during cardiac arrest, and having more of them available during this pandemic will save even more lives, including those of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.”

Research has shown cardiac damage in as many as 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients, which leads to heart failure, and even death among those who don’t show sings of respiratory distress. The patients who recover could face long-term health effects from the heart damage.

“Monument Health is grateful to be a recipient of a grant award from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Priscilla Romkema, Monument Foundation President. “Monument Health was recently awarded $196,164 for the purchase 16 LUCAS mechanical CPR devices that will be made available throughout its five markets – Custer, Lead-Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish, and Sturgis. The purchase of this technology will enable patients to receive life-saving measures and for physicians and caregivers to be protected as they care for their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and in years to come. We are thankful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for this award and know that the impact of this award will be significant.”

The rise of cardiac complications due to COVID-19 exposes both patients and healthcare workers when CPR is performed for those in need it during extended periods of time. This can make P.P.E. less effective in ceasing to spread the virus to medical providers.

The mechanical CPR machines have been adopted by emergency medical responders and many hospitals around the globe. Recently, the Department of Defense COVID-19 Practice Management Guide, identified the LUCAS chest compression system as the best practice for managing patients in cardiac arrest to reduce the exposure to healthcare workers.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust is partnering with medical facilities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska to make sure that the devices are available before the peak of COVID-19 hits. The devices will still remain with the hospitals after the pandemic as part of the hospitals’ cardiac care system.

“We were able to go from concept to delivery of the devices in two weeks, and that’s been an incredible effort of teamwork with the manufacturer and the hospitals to get them in place ahead of the peak needs,” said Panzirer. “It’s wonderful to see competing entities working together during a national crisis for the good of all.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News

AlertMe