Securing a patient’s airway in an emergency situation is a first priority for paramedics - failure can lead to premature death. Placement of a breathing tube, known as intubation, requires great skill and is most commonly performed with a traditional laryngoscope with a basic design that dates back to the 1940’s. For Angie Gonzalez, Associate Vice President of External Relations at Texas State Technical College Harlingen, the premature death of her father in an accident left her with questions as to why life saving technology wasn’t more readily available and accessible.Feeling passionate about the fight to bring better technology and training to the front line, Gonzalez inquired about the latest technology in intubation. Alongside her team, Gonzalez began to investigate available laryngoscopes. Research showed that many deaths can be attributed to failed intubation, often due to shortfalls of existing equipment and lack of training. In particular she looked at the more advanced video laryngoscopes on the market to find one that would suit the high-pace, high-stress environment of the emergency services and that also aided ease of learning for her college students.
"For me, this project was personal because wrongful intubation may have been a factor in my father’s death, by possibly incorrect placement of breathing equipment at the scene. ER medical personnel had to re-intubate him at the hospital" she said. "It was very significant for me to let students know what that complication meant to surviving members of the victim’s family and get this new device into their hands. Although use of the device is not part of the current curriculum, I think it's important for students to be aware of the latest technology available in the field.”
Video laryngoscopes include camera technology and have been shown to significantly enhance visualization and improve training outcomes. High costs have so far prohibited extensive use of the more advanced video laryngoscopes in emergency services so Aircraft Medical’s announcement that it had launched the low cost McGRATH® MAC video laryngoscope captured attention in Texas. Gonzalez set up a presentation event that emergency medical staff, major local purchasers and EMT students attended. Aircraft Medical demonstrated the new technology to a packed room where it was met with a great reception. The day closed with a new McGRATH® MAC video laryngoscope being donated by Aircraft Medical to the Texas State Technical College Harlingen.
Matt McGrath, Aircraft Medical CEO, commented:
“We have been researching in this field for more than 10 years and are passionate about making video laryngoscope technology more accessible to first responders and other field users. Emergency medical services have always been at the heart of our design approach so we recognize the need for highly portable, intuitive and robust technology to assist in what are often extreme and life critical situations. It is encouraging to see that extensive field trials are now underway in Texas following the event arranged by Angie Gonzalez”.
You can read more about the work that the college does here:
You can read what others have said on the McGRATH MAC for EMS here: