AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ambulances across the city of Austin and Travis County have some new technology to help them save lives.
The device is called the Butterfly Ultrasound device, which will help diagnose trauma patients before getting to the hospital.
“This gives us a window into different types of disease processes that are going on,” said Austin-Travis County EMS District 2 Commander Michael Wright. “One of the primary patient populations that we will be serving will be trauma patients.”
The ultrasound device allows for first responders to look for things like blood in the kidneys, bladder or cardiac heart injuries.
Commander Wright demonstrated the device on one of his first responders Wednesday for KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout.
“That’s his heart beat right inside, and there’s so much information we can get from that view,” said Wright.
The device helps first responders see what’s happening inside the body and alert hospital systems as to what the patients are experiencing more thoroughly.
“We can also use this on pregnant moms after car crashes, for example,” said Wright. “This allows us to determine which hospital they need to go to, because it can look for fetal movements.”
ATCEMS Deputy Medical Director Heidi Abraham splits her time between the emergency room and the field. She knows first-hand how helpful this little device will be for the trauma doctors.
“It certainly helps them be able to triage resources a bit better and be prepared for more of the challenging circumstances we may be bringing them,” said Abraham. “The ultrasound lets us actually look at a heart inside a cardiac arrest and say oh that’s a hear that actually beating, we need to treat it with this medication instead of these medications.”
That can save 15-20 or even 30 minutes at the hospital.
There will be about 60 of these devices inside ambulances across the City of Austin. Each device costs around $2,000. Austin Travis County EMS says there won’t be any additional cost for the patients.