Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

In Defense of No Improvement by Medic Madness – Part II


Continuing from Part I, in response to what I wrote about the failure of the LUCAS,[1] Sean continues with –

No, there isn’t much data to suggest that using a LUCAS improves outcomes. Likewise, we aren’t discovering that it’s hurting people either. So at the very worst, it’s a luxury item.[2]



I am critical of treatments that do not work. Once we start making excuses to use these treatments, we take decades to get rid of them.

No difference in survival or neurological outcome was seen for up to 6 months after the cardiac arrest as, by then, the vast majority of survivors had CPC scores of 1 or 2, and most patients with initial CPC scores of 3 or 4 had either improved or died. The numbers of serious adverse events and device-related adverse events were low.[3]


The LUCAS failed.

Unless your idea of success is to make no difference in outcomes, because improving resuscitation outcomes is not important.

Moving out of the big city and going to work in an area that utilizes volunteers as first-responders means that I often find myself working a resuscitation with just me and my partner. If – and I emphasize the word “if” – we happen to get first-responders to these calls, we still have no idea what kind of training or experience they have.[2]


The LUCAS as an excuse to tolerate incompetence.

Over, and over, and over, . . . this has been the main argument for the LUCAS.

We can’t expect EMS to perform high quality CPR.

We are too busy doing other things that do not improve outcomes to make sure that compressions are done well.

There are only two things that a paramedic needs to make sure are done well – compressions and defibrillation.

What do paramedics want to do?

We want to do things that do not improve outcomes, because we do not understand what we are doing and are easily distracted by shiny things. Maybe they can put a flashing light on the LUCAS, or give out badges with each use, and raise the price by $5,000 $10,000.

Rather than courage, we can award a LUCAS Save! medal – a shiny one.

If I am to take Sean seriously, perhaps it will be because he has taken the same argument against intubation and advocated for protecting patients from incompetent EMS by replacing endotracheal tubes with almost foolproof LMAs (Laryngeal Mask Airways).

More consistent, frees up a set of hands, probably less liability, . . . .


Sean hasn’t applied the same logic to intubation in cardiac arrest?

I am shocked. 😯

I too have been a volunteer and I know the value of the care they provide. Having said that, it’s hard to get strict on training when they are already going out of their way to provide service to their community.[2]


I don’t blame the volunteer for the quality of care they provide when working with a paramedic right there.

I blame the paramedic.

It is my job to make sure that what is going on is done well. Compressions and defibrillation are all that matter. If I can’t manage that, intubation is definitely beyond my capabilities.

What’s the harm of treatments that do not improve outcomes alternative medicine?

I look at the criticisms of the actual research in Part III and Part IV.

Dr. Brooks Walsh also explains the failure of the LUCAS in this study in “We had a LUCAS save!” – No, you didn’t.

Peter Canning describes the failures of judgment in advocating for the LUCAS in Whup Kits and Chihuahuas.


[1] The Failure of LUCAS to Improve Outcomes in the LINC Trial
Wed, 05 Mar 2014
Rogue Medic

The LUCAS, Research, and Wishful Thinking
Fri, 07 Mar 2014
Rogue Medic

[2] In Defense of the LUCAS
March 12, 2014
by Sean Eddy
Medic Madness

[3] Mechanical chest compressions and simultaneous defibrillation vs conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: the LINC randomized trial.
Rubertsson S, Lindgren E, Smekal D, Östlund O, Silfverstolpe J, Lichtveld RA, Boomars R, Ahlstedt B, Skoog G, Kastberg R, Halliwell D, Box M, Herlitz J, Karlsten R.
JAMA. 2014 Jan 1;311(1):53-61. doi: 10.1001/jama.2013.282538.
PMID: 24240611 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text in PDF Download format from PEHSC.org.



  1. Is there any data on how much time is needed to recover after a cycle of CPR to again perform high quality compressions?I have not found any info in regards to this. If after as little as one minute our quality of compressions decline, how long does it take for us to be able to return to our initial quality? I just wonder with talk of recurrent VF being considered possible candidates for reperfusion therapy and now ED ECMO now being studied if in these specific situations there may be an advantage/indication for mechanical CPR devices.


  1. […] is not the only argument Sean makes. I will address the rest in Part II, Part III, and Part […]

  2. […] from Part I, Part II, and Part III in response to what I wrote about the failure of the LUCAS,[1] Sean continues with – […]