Carmel Fire Department to employ portable ultrasound machines

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – The Carmel fire department is employing a new form of a familiar technology to help save lives.

“This is really the first time in history that we’ve been able to use technology to take a look inside our patients to help give us a better idea of what critical condition they’re experiencing or problem they’re having at the time that they call 911,” said Dr. Michael Kaufmann, EMS medical director at St. Vincent and Carmel Fire Department.

Portable ultrasound units will help paramedics and EMTs detect internal injuries at the scene of accidents. They will then be able to relay that information to hospitals so they are ready when the patient arrives.

“We see so many signs and symptoms and that kind of points us in what we think we should be treating. We can also use this to prove, yup, that’s it,” said Small.

They work just like typical ultrasound machines. They’re just smaller and more durable.

EMTs cite collapsed lungs and puncture wounds as just some of the injuries the machines will help detect.

“On a less critical but equally important day to day basis, we’ll be able to use ultrasound to help us place peripheral ivs, which we can then make and use to deliver medications and treatments,” said Kaufmann.

The units cost about $17,000 and are the first of their kind to be used in the state. But Dr. Kaufmann says it’s a technology that will soon be considered essential.

“There’s already been documented studies to show that it can not only dramatically change outcomes, but change treatment therapies. And we’re hoping to be able to bring some of that right here to the Carmel fire department,” he said.