FRUITLAND — Payette County Ambulance Director Rick Funk brought a purchase request before the Fruitland City Council. He outlined the opportunity to purchase two ultrasound machines, which normally cost between $4,500 and $5,000, for $1,500 apiece. The total for both machines would be $3,000.
The machines, Funk said, are only six months old and come from Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine in Meridian.
He explained how these machines are used in the field to perform a “fast scan” to determine if internal injuries exist where no signs of external trauma are present.
Funk gave examples of what kinds of injuries this represents including a collapsed lung or blood in the stomach. He said this is useful to know this information it will allow the paramedics to determine which patients can be treated locally and which patients need to be taken directly to the trauma center.
Councilor Kari Peterson asked Funk if the entire paramedic crew would be trained to use the ultrasound equipment for a fast scan, he replied that the crew would be trained in that capacity and went on to say that it is under “very, very specific criteria” that the ultrasound is used.
Funk also said that the information recorded by the machine can be transferred to the paramedics’ tablet computer and forwarded on to the trauma center as a way of saving time if the patient needs to be taken into surgery.
Fruitland Chief of Police J.D. Huff asked if the fast scan technique “would have made a difference” with the stabbing that took place in Payette on May 21. Funk replied saying “yes and no” and that patients probably not be fast scanned as they were being taken by helicopter to the trauma center anyway.
Councilor Ed Pierson said that being able to obtain these ultrasound machines for the reduced price represented “an incredible opportunity.”
The council unanimously approved the purchase of the two ultrasound machines.