EMTs Rescue Kittens from Structure Fire

“˜Inside the Box’
Crestline Coach Ltd. recently built an ambulance that features a secure, pivoting and adjustable stretcher platform that not only assists crews in loading patients into the patient compartment. It also helps providers access and treat patients safely and conveniently while securely buckled and facing forward in an attendant seat.

The platform, which has been popular in Europe for several years, features a foot pedal that enables the attendant to smoothly glide the patient to the best position for access and care. A version that allows for height adjustment is also available.

We give a big thumbs up to Crestline for bringing this innovation to North America.

Real-Time Treatment
Ft. Myers Beach (Fla.) Fire Control District and Health Park Hospital’s emergency department (ED) recently implemented a “real time” ECG transmission program, which transmits information from the field to the ED. The program was funded through a grant issued to Health Park Hospital from the Gulf Harbour Memorial Foundation.

A first of its kind in southwest Florida, this program will use Bluetooth technology to wirelessly transmit data from the field to physicians and cardiologists. With this program, agencies in southwest Florida are able to use a cardiac monitor in a more advanced manner to determine whether patients are having a myocardial infarction in the field and then find the nearest facility able to perform cardiac catheterization. This initiative is now saving EMS crews up to 20 minutes of precious time in getting their patients to definitive care. The program was initiated in July, and within days, the first transmission sent a patient to the proper cardiac catheterization lab 34 minutes after paramedics’ arrival.

We congratulate Ft. Myers Beach Fire Control District and Health Park Hospital’s ED for being pioneers of this new technology. We believe this pilot project will inspire other agencies to pursue similar programs to shorten the time-to-care for their patients.

Risqué Risk
Female EMS personnel in Honolulu are under investigation after a risqué photo shoot drew the wrong kind of attention to their cause. In an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer, a group of female providers decided to make a calendar and donate proceeds to the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation. The women who posed for the calendars are EMTs and paramedics who have been affected by breast cancer at some point in their lives. In the photos, they pose on ambulances with their shirts unbuttoned, exposing undergarments and cleavage.

Although the Komen Foundation initially supported the project and acknowledged that the intent was good, the local executive director ruled out the photos as too risqué. As a result, the Foundation didn’t approve the photos and is no longer associated with the project. Honolulu EMS officials became aware of concerns about the employees’ participation in the shoot and initiated an investigation.

Although their idea was conceived with positive intentions, this group of women should have used better judgment on this project. We give a thumbs down to the Honolulu providers involved for their lack of proper discretion in selecting a way to deal with such a sensitive topic.

Feline Rescue
Two paramedics from Indiana who were dispatched for standby at a structure fire became local heroes after rescuing and saving the lives of two injured kittens. While responding to a pole barn fire, Damien Crowder and Jesse Hensley of Parke County EMS heard a strange, high-pitched noise coming from inside. The area’s volunteer fire departments had already extinguished the fire and saved the structure, but one of the property owners expressed concern over kittens that lived in the barn.

Crews then entered the building and rescued two kittens–one of which was struggling for air. Crowder removed ash and foam from its fur and administered blow-by oxygen. After he performed 30 minutes of breathing treatments and opened the kitten’s airway, it regained full consciousness.

“It is our job as care providers to take care of everyone, despite man or animal. I just did what I was trained to do,” says Crowder.

We applaud Crowder and Hensley for their efforts in maintaining their moral code as EMS providers to help any person–or animal–in danger. JEMS

This article originally appeared in October 2011 JEMS as “Last Word: The Ups & Downs of EMS.”

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