First responders in Foxborough, Massachusetts, will soon be first in the state to carry a new device that has the potential to save lives.
Firefighters filled a classroom Tuesday to train on new ultrasound technology. Unlike most ultrasounds in doctor’s offices, the new device is not bulky and the probe can be plugged into a phone or tablet.
“It’s like a flashlight,” said Foxborough Deputy Fire Chief Michael Kelleher, who spearheaded the effort to bring it to the community. “We can see into the human body and see what’s going on. It allows making an actual diagnosis as opposed to using our best judgment.”
Kelleher said it can help them diagnose everything from collapsed lungs to internal bleeding, which can be critical given the number of highway crashes officials respond to in Foxborough.
It can also be used to make important decisions such as where to bring a patient for treatment.
“Our trauma centers here are about 20 miles away, so with this we will be able to make a quick determination if a patient can go to a community hospital or if we’re going to have to go a little bit further,” said Foxborough Fire Lt. Andrew Puntini.
Peter Bonadonna, a paramedic instructor from Rochester, New York, came to teach the training course. He said the technology is not just cutting-edge, but also cost-effective.
“A heart monitor is $30,000 and you can get these things for $2,000 now,” Bonadonna said. “At an emergency scene, it can outperform a stethoscope and a chest X-ray.”
Foxborough is leasing their device for $200 a month and is already receiving inquiries from other departments who are considering getting one. They say it will not be hard to see the value as soon as they go out on a call and see what they wouldn’t have been able to see without it.
“Pretty much every shift we’ve been on, there’s been a call where we would have been able to use this technology,” Puntini said.
The Foxborough Fire Department hopes to deploy the device by Sept. 1.
By Abbey Niezgoda