Breckenridge paramedics trained in using new Bone Injection Gun
BRECKENRIDGE – Paramedics rushed to an emergency call where CPR was already in progress.When they arrived, they were unable to get an IV into the man’s veins. He had a history of diabetes, and if they had been able to get sugar into him, he may have survived, said Zach Lynch, paramedic and driver operator with Red, White and Blue Fire in Breckenridge.That was about a month ago. Now, the department has a device that injects a 15-gauge needle into the tibia allowing IV fluids to flow through bone marrow – something that may have been useful that day. It is effective for burn patients, those in cardiac arrest and other emergencies where a vein cannot be accessed.”We treat it like an IV,” explained Lynch who said that having the Bone Injection Gun will really benefit the community and could save more lives.About 15 paramedics from Red, White and Blue and a few from Summit County Ambulance Service gathered this week for training. The device, which was developed in Israel, has been used by the U.S. Army for about two years.”It’s basically taking a war-time tool and putting it use for the citizens,” said Lynch, who added that many techniques and tools are learned through war, citing ambulances as another example.The Bone Injection Gun has also been used on children over time, but was only approved for adults within the last few years, said Michael Chase, clinical specialist with Performance Systems who conducted the training. Now, more than 500 departments in the country use it.During a four-month period in Baghdad, a U.S. Army doctor reported that the Bone Injection Gun saved 640 lives, Chase said. Recently, in Colorado the Bone Injection Gun was used successfully on a 6-day-old baby, he added.The introasseous (IO) injection, meaning directly into the bone marrow cavity, is fired like a syringe, Chase explained. It is inserted below the knee into the tibia.”The quickest way to stabilize a patient is to get fluid in them. It’s all abut getting fluid to your patient as quick as possible. … You can push anything you can through an IV,” he said. “It’s always going to work as long as you’ve got the site chosen properly.”Chase, who began working with Performance Systems in September after hearing about an innovative bandage they designed, said he has used the IO device seven times. It has also been used on him so he knows just how painful an experience it is.But if the patient is at a high pain level to begin with, they are not going to notice it, he said. The injection gun makes a popping noise as it is inserted and then fluids and medication can be hooked to it.”It is a last resort,” Chase said.Overseas, the Bone Injection Gun is used primarily on Hazmat and burn patients, he said. Chase has also seen it used on hypothermic patients.Jeff Jones, Red, White and Blue firefighter/ paramedic, has used a Bone Injection Gun on patients in cardiac arrest when he worked in Eagle County.Veins can collapse, but bones don’t, Jones said to explain a benefit of the injection gun.”It works extremely well,” he said.Lory Pounder can be reached at (970) 668-4628, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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