2007-03-08 / News

JEMS gets new pulse CO-Oximeter

The Jamestown Emergency Medical Service, at its Feb. 27 business and training meeting, elected to use funds from our recent fundraising drive to purchase two Masimo Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximeters at a cost of $3,000 each.

Two independent clinical studies, recently presented at the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Congress, found that the Masimo Rainbow SET® Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximeter ™ was effective in detecting carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream. The first study was from the Mayo Clinic. The second was done at Rhode Island Hospital & Brown Medical School, Department of Emergency Medicine.

The Masimo Company website explains the problem. "Carbon monoxide, a silent, odorless killer, is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the U.S., responsible for an estimated 5,000 fatalities and 10,000 poisoning injuries annually. Since carbon monoxide is produced by combustion, it can be a threat both at home, usually from faulty furnaces or water heaters and in the workplace, where exhaust fumes from motor vehicles and manufacturing equipment can accumulate. Because carbon monoxide is produced in huge quantities in building and forest fires, firefighters face an especially high risk of repeated exposure to carbon monoxide.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very difficult to diagnose, since its symptoms resemble those of the flu and other common ailments. Sometimes symptoms are so subtle that patients ignore them, with life-threatening consequences. Quick diagnosis and treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning is critically important in saving lives and preventing long-term neurological damage. Quick diagnosis of a poisoned patient may also allow paramedics, firefighters and clinicians in the emergency department to identify other persons at risk in a toxic home or work environment, and intervene before it is too late.

"Unfortunately, conventional pulse oximeters cannot distinguish carbon monoxide from oxygen, and report erroneous high oxygen levels, even when patients are severely poisoned with carbon monoxide.

"With the introduction of the Rad-57 pulse CO-Oximeter, hospital clinicians and first responders in the field now have a portable, durable unit that can be used anywhere to diagnosis carbon monoxide poisoning painlessly, in seconds."

Joan Faella, an EMT and a nurse in a hospital hyperbaric unit, brought forward the recommendation to purchase the new technology. JEMS investigated the technology last year but were waiting for more studies to confirm the efficacy of the new device.

Rick Hodges, director of the JEMS, said, "This will be especially valuable for us during firefighter rehab. One of our most important missions is to support the brave men and women of the Jamestown fire department. Early and accurate detection of the presence of carbon monoxide is vital for timely treatment." The membership voted unanimously for this purchase.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to a program on domestic violence given by a member of the Women's Resource Center of Newport and Bristol counties. JEMS meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month for training.

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