08/18/05 — Duplin EMS gets rescue devices

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Duplin EMS gets rescue devices

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 18, 2005 1:51 PM

KENANSVILLE -- It looks like a space mask but Duplin County EMS's new piece of resuscitation equipment can help patients get to the hospital alive.

Shift Supervisor Jeremy Kaiser said paramedics used the new Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device the first day they took it out on a call. The doctor called EMS after the emergency was over and said it was his opinion that, if the patient had not received early pre-hospital CPAP, he would have never left the hospital.

"These things are great," Kaiser said. "We've used this several times."

The mask is scary the first time people see it, EMS Director Curtis Brock said.

"It sounds like a train coming," he said. "It's like running down the road at 60 miles per hour with the window open."

But he said a patient with congestive heart failure can realize immediate results after putting on the mask. He said about 35 percent of the calls that come in are from people suffering respiratory problems.

"After a patient has received his first treatment from EMS, they usually are asking for that funny-looking mask as soon as we walk through the door on our next visit because they want immediate relief," he said.

He said having congestive heart failure feels like drowning from the inside. The CPAP forces the fluid out of the lungs and into the rest of the body. He said the device is not a fix. It just treats the symptoms until the paramedics can get the patient to the hospital.

The CPAP's generator is the most expensive part of the device. But Brock said his office was able to work out a deal with the distributor, which gave the county 10. That put one device on all six of the county's ambulances and on each of four Quick Response Vehicles. He said the county got the deal because it's new to the business, having started providing 24-hour paid service in 2004.

"We realized a savings of over $5,000," Brock said. "Duplin County EMS is very thankful for this gift from Tri-anium Health Services Inc. to help Duplin County EMS provide the most efficient, up-to-date procedures for our patients. This procedure alone will save lives and improve the quality of life for a lot of our citizens."