Ind. paramedics equipped with portable ultrasound

Carmel Fire Department is first in state to purchase 'exciting technology'

By Drew Smith
The Indy Channel  

CARMEL, Ind. — Paramedics and EMTs in Carmel will become the first in Indiana to use a unique, new tool.

The Carmel Fire Department will start using portable ultrasound machines to help save lives and money.

"This is probably one of the most exciting pieces of technology to come to pre-hospital health care in the last century," Dr. Michael Kaufmann with St. Vincent Hospital said. "Not being able to see inside a patient, we can only treat according to the signs and symptoms the patient is showing.”

Kaufmann said the ultrasound machine will allow paramedics to determine if a patient has a collapsed lung, internal bleeding or is in cardiac arrest.

That advanced knowledge could be extremely valuable to an emergency room doctor.

"We have a trauma patient that has blood in their belly and they're gonna need surgery right away, we'll be able to tell them that on the way into the hospital so they can prep," CFD Emergency Medical Services Chief Tom Small said.

The ultrasound will also be able to help find a vein quickly for a patient in need of an IV.

"With some patients who have extensive medical history or poor veins, starting an IV can be difficult. Using an ultrasound, the paramedic can quickly guide an IV into veins with little trouble, obtaining a critical access point for any needed medications," Small said.

CFD purchased two of the portable units at no cost to the taxpayer. The devices could help save money by ruling out certain diagnoses, therefore forgoing medical procedures in the hospital.

The paramedics and firefighters will begin training in March.

Republished with permission from The Indy Channel

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