When someone isn’t breathing, getting oxygen into the bloodstream as quickly as possible is a matter of life and death. Now, thanks in part to Mount Desert Island Hospital’s collaboration with Penn Medicine, doctors and nurses here have a new tool to speed the process of inserting a supplemental breathing tube.
The Storz CMAC video laryngoscope system uses a tiny video camera at the end of the device to offer visual guidance to the medical provider during the insertion of a breathing tube, known as intubation. The instrument, which was purchased with funds contributed to the hospital through the Penn Medicine partnership, offers unique advantages over earlier iterations of devices to assist intubation that can save seconds or minutes during a critical time in treatment. “Because this scope enables video, direct, or indirect insertion, you have the option to choose what’s best for the situation,” said MDI Hospital’s Emergency Department Medical Director, J.R. Krevans Jr., MD. “It’s one piece of equipment that can be used in different ways.” In layman’s terms, the provider can watch the video screen or peer directly into a patient’s throat to see the exact path of the tube to make sure it is positioned accurately.
In cases where a patient has a difficult airway to intubate, the scope offers improved access for multiple providers. “Someone assisting can see if what they’re doing is improving the situation without having to be directly over the patient,” Dr. Krevans said. In addition to assisting in ER cases, the device will be available elsewhere in the hospital, including the operating room for insertion of a breathing tube while a patient is under general anesthesia.
MDI Hospital’s Emergency Department personnel identified the need for having this life saving device on hand this past summer when doctors and nurses from Penn Medicine were here as part of the medical staff exchange, a key component of the MDI Hospital-Penn Medicine Collaboration. This groundbreaking partnership brings leading technology and techniques from academic medicine to MDI Hospital while at the same time providing educators experience in the ever-relevant field of rural health care delivery.
Entirely privately funded, the MDI Hospital-Penn Medicine Collaboration is viewed as a model for partnership between vastly diverse organizations coming together to achieve a common goal of bettering patient care. The three-year collaboration includes bi-annual continuing medical education programs on topics ranging from therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest patients to specialized training in treating victims of cold water drowning. In addition, physicians, residents, and nurses from Penn Medicine will work in the MDI Hospital Emergency Department for several weeks each summer sharing techniques and expanding their experience base in rural medicine.