Helmsley Grants $4.7m to Fund Life-Saving Technology to Confront Cardiac Threat from COVID-19

SIOUX FALLS, SD — The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced today a multimillion-dollar effort to save the lives of COVID-19 patients and protect the frontline healthcare workers caring for them.

A total of $4,711,481 in funding will be distributed across five upper-midwestern states to pay for 367 LUCAS mechanical CPR devices to be deployed to hospitals caring for patients during the pandemic and beyond.

Research has shown cardiac damage in as many as 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients, leading to heart failure and death, even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress. 

"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, leading to heart failure and death, even among those with no signs of respiratory distress. Among those who recover, many could have long-term effects from such heart damage.

The rise in cardiac complications caused by COVID-19 exposes both patients and healthcare workers to greater risk, as hands-on CPR can be needed for extended periods. Mechanical CPR has been adopted by emergency medical responders and many hospitals around the globe.

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

"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," said Panzirer.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2.6 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.