Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Rapid sequence intubation, advanced airways, neurotransmitters
are medical terms not everyone comprehends. However, they translate
into a sentence that is more widely understood, techniques
used to save a life.
Four days last week Ripley County paramedics sat under the teaching
of Charles (Chuck) Skinner, clinical educator for PHI Air Medical
for the state of Texas. The veteran critical care paramedic
has been in the emergency medical service for nearly 30 years
and works in close connection with the Red River Medical Institute
out of Keller, TX.
Local paramedics were able to take part in the critical care
paramedic class, allowing them to learn techniques that goes
far beyond what they are able to do now. They learned a variety
of things in the classes that offered hands on training. Their
goal is to absorb all the information given, practice until
they can perfectly administer the procedures taught and then
save lives in Ripley County.
According to Ripley County EMS Director Scott Huffman, after
only the first day of training, he and other paramedics knew
they could implement some things that would change the way they
care for patients. He said just as paramedics check their bags
at the beginning of each shift to make sure they are ready for
a call, they will now practice rapid sequence intubation, (making
it possible for someone to breathe when they cant on their
own) before every shift.
While the paramedics have protocol to follow when it comes to
implementing new techniques, they are already qualified to intubate
a patient. With the new practice procedure they will be less
hesitant and have more confidence. Thankfully this isnt
something we have to do everyday, but we want to be ready,
The tough course gave paramedics a greater understanding of
what critical care really is. We have a greater knowledge
base on critical thinking and critical patient assessment,
noted Huffman. And, in the rural area they serve, its
important. Skinner, who is an expert in his field, said while
his city counterparts might not agree with his statement, he
said it is imperative that rural areas have critical care
paramedics due to location. The significance of having
paramedics trained in critical care is the difference between
life and death, according to Skinner.
About the class Skinner said, This is about improving
your ability to deliver advanced care to the residents of Ripley
County. He told the paramedics training is ongoing, it
never stops. They will always be learning, increasing their
knowledge base, improving their ability to care for those in
The impressive credentials behind the name of the instructor
came with years of experience both in the classroom and in the
field. He cautioned the paramedics about administering techniques,
and their role in making or breaking
an already disastrous situation.
They (paramedics) saved my life, one Ripley County
resident recently shared as she told how they came to her house
when she was having a heart attack. She noted that they knew
the right thing to do to minimize any damage to her heart.
Having a paramedic make a diagnosis and begin treatment before
the patient was ever transported was critical to the medical
The latest critical care class paramedics took simply gives
them even more knowledge and training to upgrade the care they
administer to the next level, according to Huffman. He concluded
by saying, We dont want to be just followers, we
want to be leaders in the (paramedic) field.
Attending the class along with Huffman were other Ripley County
paramedics: Don Bowman, Mike Sieverding, Sue Carey, Carmen Elliott,
Jenny Frye and Dean Wise. Also taking advantage of the advanced
course were Amanda Sherwood, a paramedic from Rush County, Brian
Pate, respiratory therapist and Angie Huffmeyer, Emergency Room
RN, both from Margaret Mary Community Hospital, and Janice Hosmer,
MMCH EMS Coordinator and a paramedic.
This week paramedics will be sitting under the training of pediatric
expert and certified flight registered nurse LeeAnn Jones-Fewell,
where they will gain even more knowledge on how to treat a pediatric
patient in a traumatic situation.
Carmen Elliott and Sue Carey, paramedics
with Ripley County, practice difficult airway techniques
on a manikin under the direction of critical care expert
Chuck Skinner from Red River Medical Institute in Texas.
The paramedics recently spent four days learning techniques
that will take their level of care for Ripley County patients
to a whole new level.