For Derry EMS, saving lives takes practice
Called Rapid Sequence Induction, the program is administered to critical patients whose breathing is inadequate or who have a serious brain injury, said Derry EMS Director Chuck Hemeon. During administration, patients are sedated and medically paralyzed so that an advanced airway, or endotracheal tube, can be inserted through their mouth and into their lungs.
Derry Fire and EMS, which piloted the program, usually handles around 12 to 14 cases a year. Lives have been saved during the program’s 12-year run, Hemeon said.
To briefly paralyze patients, medications are administered in sequence that induces a short-term paralysis of about four to six minutes. Paramedics are then able to insert the endotracheal tube. When the effect of the medications wears off, the patient immediately comes out of it, Hemeon said.
The mannequin was awarded to the town through a Homeland Security grant several years ago; it cost approximately $75,000, Hemeon said.
“The highly trained Derry paramedics are able to go in there and work together as a group and make a clinical decision that potentially may save a patient’s life,” Hemeon said.