Local pharmacy offers life saving device; donates one to each school


Matt Jackson is shown with the LifeVac devices currently available at Columbia Pharmacy.
Matt Jackson is shown with the LifeVac devices currently available at Columbia Pharmacy.

The idea for the LifeVac was born from tragedy. Arthur Lih, founder and CEO of LifeVac, was brokenhearted after hearing a mother weep over the death of her son. The cause of death was because of a grape lodged in his windpipe and the Heimlich maneuver was not enough to save him.
This motivated Lih and he set out to create a device that could clear an airway. With the help of friends and doctors, LifeVac was developed and is available to the public. It has already been reported to have saved 995 lives.

The LifeVac serves as an airway clearing device that can be used during emergency choking situations. It can be used on anyone, but provides a non-invasive option for people in wheelchairs or anyone on whom it is difficult to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
Columbia Pharmacy recently donated devices to Adair County schools to make sure the option is available in case of an emergency.

“The schools were excited because they have some kids in wheelchairs that they couldn’t really try to clear their airway like they would somebody else, the fact that you can use it on yourself, and you don’t have to be trained necessarily to use it. It’s really, really simple, really easy to use,” said Matt Jackson, pharmacist at Columbia Pharmacy. Columbia Pharmacy has the kits available for purchase. Each LifeVac comes in a kit containing a suction device and two different sized masks with an additional practice mask.

How It’s Used
The LifeVac website has simplified the process to three steps: place, push and pull.
To assemble the LifeVac, the mask must be placed in the base of the suction device and twist until it is set in place.
Place the mask on the bridge of the victim’s nose and just above the chin. Use your index finger and thumb to create a c shape around the mask and place your other fingers in an e shape along the face to have a secure grip. Then, use the handle on the suction device to push down the device and sharply pull up to remove the object.
The suction device acts as a one-way valve. Because of the vents on the bottom, when you push down the air will come out, but the air is not able to come back in. The secure seal of the mask and the power of the air creates vacuum pressure that removes the choking object.

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