Field Medicine: EMS and SonoSite Ultrasound

(slow gentle music) – [Voiceover] This is
our work environment. In the back of an
ambulance, which is limited. (slow gentle music) What we do isn’t in the ER. It’s not in a nice clean environment. Sometimes we’re in the field, sometimes we’re in mud, sometimes we’re just out. We bounce down the road. We’re never still. The first idea of ultrasound in EMS was brought to me by Jason Bowman. – Most EMS systems that use ultrasound they save it for trauma. (slow gentle music) For the city Keller we
don’t run much trauma. We talked about the medical uses of it and how we can add in all the extra things that they do in the ER. It’s not commonly done in EMS. The most valuable one
we’ve been using it for is cardiac examinations. For our hypotensive patients. Because before we just knew,
okay, they’re in shock. And we could look at a few small things to try to tell what was going on. But with ultrasound we could tell this is cardiogenic shock. This is septic shock. This is hypovolemia. We can tell exactly what’s going on. There’s no wasting time. – We’ve used it to check for new thoraxes. We’ve used it to check for triple As. One of the better things,
I think, that I’ve used it for is starting IVs. We had a patient who was like we say, if somebody’s doing very bad they’re circling the drain. A lot of things have to happen very fast. Access for medications to be given is one of our priorities. So, on this patient there were no visible vessels to be able to start an IV on. I grabbed the ultrasound
machine and told one of our other paramedics to grab the drill. And we’ll see who gets one of them faster. We would much rather
have an intravenous line than an intraoceous line in the bone because they run better, they’re easier to push strokes through. And they just work better. I actually ended up beating him in getting that IV and being able to give treatment
to that patient faster. Which was very impressive to me. I believe that this is the next thing that will help us to do our job better. – We’ve already pretty
well mandated it where you have to have it available
in the emergency room. I think it should be the
same in the ambulance. – You make a difference
in one patient’s life, and one patient’s outcome and it’s worth all the work. That’s what sold me, and that
should sell anybody else.


  1. I find this topic very interesting and would love to see US become standard equipment. I heard SonoSite was working with physio control to create a cardiac monitor/defib along with US. Having US capabilities on a LP15 would be amazing and, I believe, more well received all around.

  2. I would love to have US in my ambulance, especially for pneumothorax which is sometimes hard to hear especially if there is a lot of people around, traffic and so on, or for cardiac tamponade, two of the Ts that I could potentially treat at the spot but extremely risky if you're not absolutely sure that the patient has them. This device would be a real life saver.

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