64 JEMS | AUGUST 2017 WWW.JEMS.COM
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THE UPS & DOWNS OF EMS
Thanks to recently passed legislation
in Texas, it’s now a crime to operate
vehicles that look like ambulances, but don’t
provide medical treatment. The inspiration
for the bill was the “Slambulance,” a party
bus in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that was
modeled after an ambulance, complete with
red and blue lights.
Paramedics at Medstar Mobile Healthcare
in Fort Worth were concerned that the misleading vehicle may confuse someone who’s
experiencing a medical emergency. But, at
the time, the owner was acting legally and no
charges could be filed.
Determined to make things right, medics
reached out to local lawmakers, and HB 1249
was born. The bill, which would make imposter
ambulances illegal, was quickly signed into law
and will go into effect in September.
We give a thumbs up to the MedStar medics
as well as the Texas lawmakers and the bipartisan effort taken to pass this law in order to
maintain the integrity of emergency medicine.
Two college students are determined
to make intubation safer—and they’re
succeeding. Harvard engineering freshman
Christopher Onesti was inspired to tackle this
issue when his physician father told him about a
patient who died after a medic put the endotracheal tube into the patient’s esophagus instead
of the trachea. Once Onesti learned that small
EMS budgets made it difficult to justify buying one-time-use intubation verification sensors, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Onesti teamed up with fellow engineering
freshman Nicolas Weninger to develop a reus-
able and easy-to-use intubation sensor that
detects the flow of CO2. It’s outfitted with a
light that either shines green or red to quickly
alert medics that something is going wrong.
The students were focused on making the
device as least cumbersome as possible, knowing that medical emergencies are chaotic and
EMS providers need to work quickly. Not only
can the device fit seamlessly into the intubation
process, it can also be sterilized and reused.
The student team recently entered the 10th
Annual i3 Innovation Challenge and won the
McKinley Commercial Grant Gold Medal
which includes a $10,000 prize. The money
will go toward troubleshooting the prototype
and finessing the sterilization process. They
hope to soon get FDA approval.
We give a thumbs up to these young entrepreneurs for their dedication to innovation that
can save lives. We wish them success, and hope
to see the device in our airway kits soon. JEMS
For most of us, a trip to the beach is
just a casual weekend activity. But for
one San Diego man, a trip to the beach with
his wife was a special sojourn from hospice
care, thanks to American Medical Response’s
(AMR) Sentimental Journey program.
Before moving to San Diego, Henry “Hank”
Foley, PhD, lived in Hawaii for several years.
For Foley’s special event, AMR wanted to
bring a little slice of Hawaii to San Diego.
EMTs Rocky Guzman and David Hodka
accompanied Foley and his wife to the beach,
station for a Hawaiian-style luau. While the
couple enjoyed eating their lunch overlooking
the water, they were treated to a traditional
hula dance performance by Guzman’s wife.
“Although he said very little, his [Foley’s]
facial expressions said it all,” Guzman said.
“It is an honor to be part of a team who can
make dreams come true.”
Sentimental Journeys is a decades-old pro-
gram that helps grant the wishes of hospice
patients who can’t participate in the activities
they once loved. AMR takes the patients on
outings of their choice to places they might
otherwise not get to visit or can no longer
access on their own.
Foley passed away from Parkinson’s not
long after his special outing, but his wife said
he absolutely treasured the day. She said her
husband was extremely grateful to be chosen
for the wonderful event.
We give a thumbs up to AMR for its outstanding Sentimental Journeys program that
shows patient care extends beyond the scene
of the call and the doors of the ambulance. We
also give special thanks to the local medics for
escorting Foley on his unforgettable beach day.
Henry “Hank” Foley and his wife, joined by Rocky Guzman, EMT; Guzman’s wife (the Hawaiian dancer) and
David Hodka, EMT. Photo courtesy AMR San Diego