Leading the way in ultrasound | This month’s thoughts
This week, we announced a generous donation from the Morrisons Foundation of over £12,000, which has enabled us to purchase new ultrasound devices to take on board all our vehicles.
As a Clinical Shift Manager, I have first-hand experience of just how vital ultrasound imaging is when we are treating a seriously ill or injured patient.
To many, ultrasound is synonymous with pregnancy scans, but it has lots of other uses. Ultrasound gives our paramedics and doctors real-time information on injuries in the chest or abdomen, including internal bleeding, lung injuries and heart activity, that otherwise wouldn’t be revealed until a patient reached hospital. This allows us to treat the patient right away.
With the help of the Morrisons Foundation, we have been able to purchase new Butterfly IQ ultrasound devices, which make a real difference when every second counts. The pocket-sized probe links up to an iPad screen and the image is large and easy to see, helping our paramedics and doctors make quick decisions in the heat of the moment.
Paramedics in land ambulances do not use portable ultrasound, so this is yet another way we are truly bringing the hospital to the patient. Our pioneering use of portable ultrasound has saved countless lives since we started using them in 2013 and, thanks to this generous donation from the Morrisons Foundation, we will be able to give many more patients the best chance of survival and recovery.
Leading the way in training
We are leading the way in training, too. I am proud to say I recently achieved Royal College of Emergency Medicine core (level 1) ultrasound sign-off. I was the first critical care paramedic in the region, possibly in the entire country, to do so.
Just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Mark Hodkinson, Clinical Shift Manager
Let me explain more. All our paramedics and doctors undergo a one-day ultrasound course. We then carry out a minimum of ten supervised scans in each of the four main areas of ultrasound use, for example looking for movement of the heart. After this course, we can use ultrasound at the scene of an emergency. However, paramedics still need their scans to be signed off by someone qualified to do so.
I’ve always been interested in the use of ultrasounds, and I was able to progress through the sign-off process. I was supported by senior consultants at the John Radcliffe hospital to undertake an assessment day, with four scenarios across the different areas of emergency ultrasound use. As a result, I am now qualified to use an ultrasound without needing to get my scans or diagnoses signed off. After six months, I will then be able to sign off the scans of other paramedics.
This may sound simple, but it shows how we are always encouraged to learn and grow. Just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
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