Peterborough ambulance to start using ultrasounds in February

  • Peterborough Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Joshua Patrick shows scans taken with the department's new portable ultrasounds, which will be available on the ambulances as soon as February. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Peterborough Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Joshua Patrick shows scans taken with the department's new portable ultrasounds, which will be available on the ambulances as soon as February. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Peterborough Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Joshua Patrick shows scans taken with the department's new portable ultrasounds, which will be available on the ambulances as soon as February. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Peterborough Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Joshua Patrick shows scans taken with the department's new portable ultrasounds, which will be available on the ambulances as soon as February. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/18/2019 12:52:36 PM

The Peterborough Fire and Rescue Association will be using ultrasounds to assist with diagnostics starting in early February.

The Peterborough ambulance will have two hand-held ultrasounds, which will be added to their ambulances as of Feb. 2, following the completion of personnel training.

Peterborough Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Joshua Patrick said the ultrasounds have a multitude of uses in early assessments.

“I think eventually, the ultrasound has the capability of being used as commonly as a stethoscope,” Patrick said. “It has a ton of uses and is a safe technology to use. I see this being used very frequently, and it’s going to help the paramedics make clinical decisions for the patients.”

Patrick said the ambulance currently deals “all the time” with situations where an ultrasound would be useful. 

The uses of the ultrasounds include monitoring the heart during cardiac arrests, evaluating the lungs to check for fluid, and identifying whether a patient needs a trauma center and identifying septic patients and helping determine the best treatment.

Patrick said the ultrasound will be able to show if there is motion in a heart during cardiac arrest, even if the heart monitor doesn’t pick up any electrical signals.

“We can see that we do have some motion of the heart, and we’ll be able to take a different course,” Patrick said. “Without the ultrasound, there is no way to show mechanical activity.”

With some illnesses, Patrick said, there are multiple ways to treat a patient, based on their status at the time. But determining that status isn’t always possible without the ultrasound. For example, someone with low blood pressure, could be treated by giving them fluids, or by a medication to constrict blood vessels. Which is more appropriate can be determined with an ultrasound. 

The ultrasounds are portable and handheld, and send images to the department’s iPads for immediate viewing. 

The ultrasounds are valued at between $8,000 and $9,000 each, Patrick said, and were secured through grants.

Patrick said the department has been interested in adding ultrasounds to their toolkit for up to three years, but needed to work out a plan for training. In addition to the training materials provided by the ultrasound manufacturer, the department will be receiving hands-on training in the ultrasounds by an emergency physician. 

The ambulance’s current staff will complete their hands-on training during a training session on Feb. 1, and the ultrasounds will be on the ambulances and in use as soon as the next day, Patrick said. 

The Peterborough Fire and Rescue provides ambulance services to the towns of Dublin, Francestown, Hancock, Peterborough and Sharon.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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