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Barren-Metcalfe EMS makes medical history

Jennifer Moonsong

Central Division

General Manager

Jobe Publishing, Inc.


Barren-Metcalfe is leading the way in safety on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight by employing new technology.

Director of Clinical Services, Eric Bauer, is excited to introduce Sea Long Helmets, a revolutionary method of transporting COVID-19 positive patients in Barren and Metcalfe counties. The Sea Long Helmets will be used in place of CPAP and BiPAP in emergency inter-facility ground transfers.

“Barren-Metcalfe EMS will be one of the first ground agencies in the United States to deploy this technology,” Bauer said. “…The Sea Long Helmet is a self-containing device that provides protection from aerosolization of respiratory droplets and provides much higher mean airway pressures that reduce the incidence and need for endotracheal intubation,”

Up until COVID-19, the technology in use had remained the same for a long time.

“When patients need airway support, we have used simple face mask ventilation with non-rebreather masks, nebulizers, CPAP, or BiPAP mask technology,” Bauer explained. “These devices have been the mainstay in treatment for years.”

The problem presented when transporting a potential or confirmed COVID-19 patient with old fashioned facial coverings is the aerosolization of respiratory droplets. Those droplets put the EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors at risk.

However, helping healthcare providers be at less risk is not the Sea Long Helmet’s only virtue.

“Studies have shown that non-invasive masks can obviate the need for endotracheal intubation and improves mortality in patients with acute respiratory failure,” Bauer said. “This technology allows patients to be animated while in the care of pre-hospital and hospital staff, a strategy that has been shown to reduce overall time in the ICU.”

Bauer says, that with an increase in cases considered, hospitals in the small, local communities could quickly reach their capacity. Because of this, emergency medical services are tasked with transferring highly acute patients in respiratory failure to facilities in Nashville and Louisville.

“The Sea Long Helmet will greatly impact our ability to take care of patients that may otherwise need endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation,” Bauer said.

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