Washington County EMS has been chosen as one of only 3 departments in the nation to take part in a yearlong study by the University of Kentucky. The study seeks to verify the accuracy of lung ultrasounds performed by EMS paramedics in the field. It could potentially change the way they assess, treat, and transport patients who suffer from respiratory diseases. In the past, EMS departments that could afford an ultrasound for in the field use, would find that the hospital would simple repeat the test once the patient arrived. With the advances in technology, field use ultrasounds are now smaller, more accurate, and less expensive. Ashley Voss-Liebig with Travis County Starflight explains how this changes things:
A big part of the study is to see if two supervisors could be professionally trained, and then pass that training onto the other paramedics in the department. Paramedics Mark Rosenbaum and Michael Oberhelman went to the training in Lexington Kentucky and now have trained the other paramedics in the department.
Washington County currently has 2 ultrasounds on loan for the study, and is looking to purchase a third unit. Director Kevin Deramus says that a local donor has already offered to purchase the unit for the department. While this study focuses on ultrasound diagnosis of the lungs, plans are to utilize the units to image other organs in the body in the future.