By Ed Brock
The BIG in Forest Park's newest life-saving device stands for "bone injection gun" but Maj. Paul Beamon said most of the patients it will be used on shouldn't feel much.
"When we use it the person will pretty much be unconscious," Beamon said.
Starting Tuesday the Forest Park Fire Department began an exclusive one-year pilot program for the BIG? adult intraosseous infusion (IOI) device. The spring-loaded needle allows emergency medical technicians to administer fluids and medication to patients when they are so dehydrated or their circulation is so poor that a vain cannot be found by going directly into the bone marrow.
"With everybody worried about terrorism, we can use it in mass casualty incidents," Beamon said.
In August, Dr. Phillip Coule with the Georgia EMS Medical Directors' Advisory Council approached Beamon about trying the device that is currently in use in Israel and Europe.
"They were looking for somebody to take the lead on this," Beamon said. "Forest Park was the only one to pick up the ball and run with it."
Beamon said the department has a total of 10 of the devices, two for each first response unit. Each time they are used during the evaluation process the paramedics and physicians will report on its use.
It will generally be used on patients suffering from cardiac arrest, Beamon said.
The State Medical Directors Board and Georgia Medical Director Dr. James P. O'Neal will review the information periodically.
"I personally feel the knowledge gained from this project will be of great value and look forward to seeing the outcomes," O'Neal said in a statement.
The Forest Park firefighters and paramedics have already begun training on the device.
"I think it's going to make a big difference in our emergency care," said 10-year veteran of the department Sgt. Matt Jackson. "We've had several instances in the past when we could have used them."
Jackson said it only took about two to four hours to learn how to use the device.
Beamon also said the BIG? makes their job much easier.
"In this case we don't have to look for veins," Beamon said. "We just have to find some bone."
The device is manufactured by WaisMed and made available from Tri-anim.