Paramedics from MDI ambulance services with the agencies’ new heart monitors. From left, Margaret Houghton of the Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service, David Buccello of the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Ambulance Service and Basil Mahaney of the Bar Harbor Fire Department. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

You gotta have heart: new gear to improve emergency care

BAR HARBOR — New heart monitors have arrived for three ambulance services on Mount Desert Island, and paramedics say the devices will make doing their jobs a lot easier.

The X series monitor/defibrillators made by Zoll replace older, heavier LifePack units previously used in the agencies’ ambulances. Those units were nearing the end of their useful lives in the Bar Harbor Fire Department and Southwest Harbor-Tremont Ambulance Service’s ambulances.

“The Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service switched over to align with the rest of the fleet,” said medic Basil Mahaney, who works with both the Bar Harbor Fire Department and the volunteer Northeast Harbor service.

The new X Series heart monitor/defibrillators are lighter, more durable and more modern than the ambulance equipment they replace. Paramedics can send electrocardiogram transmissions directly to the hospital or LifeFlight helicopter ambulance.

“At 11.7 pounds, it’s considerably lighter than the old units,” Mahaney said. “So it’s more mobile, easier to bring with you to the patient’s location.”

The agencies often share resources and personnel, he said. “A lot of times a paramedic from one agency will respond to a call from another agency, if necessary. It’s handy if, when you get in their truck, you have the same equipment.”

It’s also the same cardiac monitor used on the LifeFlight helicopter ambulance, so first responders can make a smoother transition when a patient is transferred. They can even send an electrocardiogram transmission directly to the hospital that is waiting for the patient, Bar Harbor assistant chief John Lennon said.

David Buccello of the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Ambulance Service said another benefit of the more advanced software is the ability for the company to send software updates on a thumb drive, eliminating the need to send the unit away.

He also said a “see-through CPR” feature “allows you to see the heart rhythm while doing compressions. That and other features tell you how effectively you’re doing CPR.”

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.