Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 31, 2003

Howard Lake ambulance to give on-the-spot treatment

By Lynda Jensen

Several new drugs can now be administered on-the-spot by the Howard Lake Ambulance Crew, as the result of a variance granted by the state, said Dennis Bobrowske of the Howard Lake Fire Department.

The new array of drugs will enable Howard Lake's emergency crews to administer drugs for a variety of ailments, from heart attacks to diabetes.

The intention is to provide better care to patients. Treatment includes the following:

· nitrogylcerin to treat heart attack patients.

This drug dilates blood vessels, counteracting the blood constriction problem suffered by chronic angina patients. Baby aspirin is also used for heart patients. Although the ambulance gives the dosage for adults in aspirin, baby aspirin is easier to administer since it can be chewed, Bobrowske said.

· glucacon, which is used for diabetic patients.

This is a shot administered to the muscle that increases blood sugar. "The drug really brings them around," Bobrowske said, since some diabetics go unconscious from this malady.

· EpiPens, used for people with severe allergic reactions toward items such as peanuts or bee stings.

This is a shot that can be self administered, and in fact many people carry their own, he said. There are both children and adult dosages.

· Albuterol, which is inhaled. It is used for asthma victims. This aids in breathing, he said.

The ambulance receives a mix of calls ­ with most of them being medical calls versus trauma, Bobrowske said.

In order to administer the drugs, members of the ambulance crew were required to take extra training. They must do this every year in addition to other training.

The ambulance service responded to 291 calls last year, said Scott Graham of the ambulance service.

Since Howard Lake is 20 minutes from the nearest hospital, a typical call generally entails the ambulance service responding with first aid level care, stabilizing the victim.

For critical patients, the Howard Lake ambulance usually connects with an advanced life support ambulance (ALS) on its way to the hospital. The ALS ambulance will start up intravenous treatment and EKGs, if this is needed, Bobrowske said.

There are 17 emergency medical technicians trained for the ambulance. EMTs are tested every two years for licensing.

A minimum of two EMTs respond to each call, with others riding along at times, Bobrowske said. The ambulance can carry several crew members.

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