When it comes to medical issues, such as heart attacks and strokes, seconds can sometimes save lives.
This is part of the reason that Whitley County EMS is so excited about the addition of four new state-of-the-art heart monitors/automated external defibrillators, which went into service Thursday afternoon.
In addition to charging quicker, the new machines can electronically transfer patient heart-related medical data through the Cloud straight to the emergency room at local hospitals.
Whitley County EMS Assistant Director Brandon Woods said that depending on the results of an accreditation meeting with Baptist Health Corbin on Aug. 23, the new equipment may soon enable heart attack victims to bypass the emergency room and go directly to heart catheterization lab for treatment when they arrive at the hospital.
“Our old monitors that we had were not obsolete but they were very behind the time,” said Whitley County EMS Director Kelly Harrison. “This gives us new capabilities to take care of Whitley County patients. We are hoping that we can contribute to the county a little bit better.”
Whitley County EMS recently purchased four Lifepak 15 defibrillators, which cost over $36,000 each. Personnel received training on the new equipment Thursday afternoon.
Previously EMS officials had separate heart monitors and defibrillator machines.
The heart monitor portion checks vital signs, heart rates, etc. The defibrillator portion can be used to shock a stopped heart and get it beating again, and assist with CPR.
In addition, the new devices can also automatically monitor blood oxygen levels and carbon dioxide levels in the body and sound an alert if the levels are out of kilter. This is done through a device that attaches to the end of a patient’s finger.
This is especially useful for treatment of someone, who has been in a smoke-filled house.
Woods noted that it is also useful at places like factories that have propane-powered fork lifts that might not be properly ventilated.
Most of the funding to purchase the new monitors comes from about $131,000 in funding from a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) that EMT Lt. Tabitha Pfoutz wrote.
“She is the one, who wrote the grant for us. We are very, very happy that we did get the grant,” Harrison added.
The Whitley County Fiscal Court is picking up the tab for the remaining 10 percent cost for the new machines.
Pfoutz said that there are thousands of fire departments and ambulance services applying for the grant money annually so getting it was no small feat.
Pfoutz has also been successful in getting two AFG grants for Goldbug Volunteer Fire Department in recent years where she is a member.