George Scharfe

Dramatic Rescue Prompts Lifesaving Gift

Gloucester emergency personnel received a 911 call early one February morning from a local supermarket. A 56-year-old employee had gone into cardiac arrest and collapsed, unresponsive, in the back room. EMTs arrived immediately and began steady, continuous chest compressions in preparation for the trip to Addison Gilbert Hospital.

Because people who manually perform CPR can tire within minutes, the EMTs used a LUCAS Chest Compression System on the man while they transported him to Addison Gilbert Hospital and from there to the trauma center at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington. The lifesaving equipment ran for 2 hours and 42 minutes, nearly setting a national record, before the patient regained a pulse. In two weeks, he was well and home again.

Critical Access to State-of-the-Art Equipment

As this case shows, the right equipment can be the difference between life and death. George Scharfe, a longtime supporter of Beverly Hospital, recognized this when he offered to donate two LUCAS devices—one to Beverly Hospital plus one to Addison Gilbert Hospital. “Let’s face it,” Scharfe explained. “If you have an emergency in Gloucester or anywhere on the North Shore, it is a long trip to Boston. We need the best care locally. From emergency care to day-to-day and specialty care, our community hospitals are—and need to remain—viable and reliable sources of great medical treatment.”

“Simply the Right Thing to Do”

Scharfe has been a fan of Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals for many years. Since he and his wife, Coreen, moved to Manchester 40 years ago, they have used the hospitals for emergency care, medical procedures and, happily, for the birth of five-and-counting grandchildren. “The care at Beverly and Addison Gilbert is always absolutely first rate,” he said. “Anything we can do for them, we try to do. These are our community hospitals. They rely on public support, and it has to start somewhere. My family and I are happy to help. It is not anything earth-shaking; it is simply the right thing to do. I saw my parents live this way, and I want to carry on their commitment to community values.”

George Barth directed the nursing staff for the emergency departments at Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals. “During cardiac arrest, it is critical to have a constant supply of oxygen to the heart and brain,” he explained. “The LUCAS device ensures uninterrupted high-quality CPR compressions—something that can be challenging to achieve otherwise. I am so grateful to the Scharfe family for this generous donation to our Emergency Departments. It gives our patients a critical advantage. Joining this equipment with the skills of our renowned physicians means we can provide expert care to patients who rely on us every hour of every day of the year. Lives will be saved with the use of the LUCAS device.”

Lending a Hand

In a medical crisis, many hands come together to form a team—from the 911 caller, to responding EMTs, to clinicians in local emergency rooms and area trauma centers. It is an “all hands on deck” response. And while George may humbly say that what he and his family have done is nothing earth-shaking; it can very well be lifesaving. The Scharfe family’s willingness to lend a hand has helped to make exceptional care available on their beloved beaches, boats and backyards of the North Shore and Cape Ann.