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November 16, 2014
Ky. EMS trains with ALS simulator mannequins
By Melinda J. Overstreet
GLASGOW, Ky. — The chest moves up and down slightly as the sound of calm breathing comes from the male figure lying on the table.
Moments later, the sounds change: choking, gasping for air, then something like a cross between a scream and a moan. Finally, the sounds of vomiting. The patient’s heart pounds at more than double the normal rate, then it slows in an instant.
Fortunately, this guy is not human. He’s an advanced life support simulator mannequin the Barren-Metcalfe Emergency Medical Services will use to train staff.
The ambulance service is using two grants from the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services – the maximum of $10,000 per county for Barren and Metcalfe – for the purchase of the ALS Simulator, a total of 20 cardiopulmonary resuscitation head-and-chest training mannequins and three – an adult, a child and an infant – intubation heads for breathing-tube training, said Tim Gibson, assistant director of the service. The total cost is about $22,000, he said, with the ambulance service contributing the balance after the grants.
The mannequin alone cost about $12,000, Gibson said, and accessories and other items for it were $4,000.
“We’ve never had anything like this,” he said, pointing to the ALS Sim. “It’s technology we’ve never had.”
The other new items replace similar outdated equipment, he said.
Tim Brockmeyer, an account manager for Bound Tree Medical, which sold the simulator, visited EMS headquarters on East Main Street on Friday morning and demonstrated the mannequin to Joe Middleton, the in-house training officer for the ambulance service.
Middleton, a paramedic and nurse practitioner who used to work for the ambulance service full time, is currently training other trainers, such as paramedic Garland Gilliam, Gibson said. Gilliam also checked out the simulator Friday.
Having these devices allows more training to take place in house, rather than having to send personnel elsewhere, said Mike Swift, director of the service.
Some of the features of the ALS Sim include:
• an air tank in the right thigh that can be filled with a manual air pump, which sends air into a chamber in the chest that makes it rise and fall;
• an inflatable tongue for practicing difficult intubations;
• pulse points where the health worker can feel a heartbeat as controlled remotely from a touchscreen handheld device;
• a blood-pressure cuff;
• removable legs;
• various softer spots where intramuscular injections can be administered;
• other sounds that come from the abdomen;
• a clip-on microphone that allows two-way “conversation” between the mannequin – which can be made to answer questions with at least “yes” or “no” – and a person wearing a headset.
Electrodes attached to the chest cavity and connected to a heart monitor display the heart rate, and a defibrillator can even be used on the mannequin up to a certain point, Brockmeyer said.
The mannequin is latex-free, with the exception of two built-in tubes for administering intravenous drugs. It weighs about 80 pounds and usually requires two people to carry it, he said.
Other adjustable settings include blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate. Optional items include attachable genitalia, “burned” faces and broken legs, Brockmeyer said.
Preprogrammed specific scenarios may be purchased and downloaded, he said, but users can also create scenarios and save them for repeated use.