By Eugenia Jones
McCreary County EMS will soon have and be able to use state of the art ultrasound equipment on board each of their six ambulance trucks. With the ultrasounds being about the size of a cell phone, technicians will also be able to relocate the ultrasound equipment from their ambulance trucks to McCreary County’s two van ambulances when needed. After waiting approximately two years, the Commission of the KY Board of EMS gave its stamp of approval for McCreary County EMS to purchase and use the ultrasounds. The equipment has been ordered and will arrive soon.
The ultrasound equipment will be used to check for internal bleeding and assist in IV access. Ultrasounds are particularly valuable in situations involving trauma, abdominal injuries, stabbing or gunshot wounds, and car wreck injuries. Since McCreary County EMS will be able to transmit ultrasounds to the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital emergency room in advance, ER physicians will be able evaluate incoming patients and prepare for the patient’s arrival by notifying necessary physicians and/or surgeons in advance.
The cost of the ultrasound equipment totaled $17,052 and was funded by a grant written by Assistant Chief Brandi Gibson and with EMS truck replacement funds.
In addition to McCreary County, the ultrasound equipment will also benefit surrounding counties who have mutual aid agreements with McCreary County. Mutual aid agreements are reciprocal agreements between ambulance services to provide back-up coverage for each other if necessary during overwhelming situations. McCreary County has a mutual aid agreement with several counties including Cumberland, Clinton, Wayne, Pulaski, Laurel, Whitley, and Scott County, TN.
“We have been blessed to not need mutual aid from another county for quite some time,” McCreary County EMS Director Jimmy Barnett noted. “However, we have provided quite a bit of mutual aid for Whitley County and some for Pulaski. With hospitals in Pulaski, Whitley, and Laurel Counties, it is easy for them to need back up. The quicker we can help hospitals in mutual aid counties get beds opened up by transporting out patients when their ambulances are covered up, the quicker we can get our patients in for the treatment they need.”