Paramedics using new drill for easier vascular access in patients

Press release.

Guelph-Wellington Emergency Medical Service has purchased a potentially life-saving device for each of its frontline ambulances.

The EZ-IO drill, put on ambulances earlier this week, enables paramedics to access a patient’s intravascular system by drilling into a patient’s bones in either the arm or leg. This technique is used in emergency situations to provide fluids and medications to a patient when intravenous access is not available or feasible.

“The device is small and simple, but has the potential to dramatically affect patient outcomes in a positive way,” says Leanne Swantko, deputy chief, Guelph-Wellington Emergency Medical Service, adding the device is used as a last resort when no peripheral veins are readily available for access.

“The EZ-IO drill is essential for critically injured and ill patients, as it provides paramedics with immediate access to the vascular system and can be used on adult or pediatric patients. An example of this would be a trauma patient trapped in a vehicle or a chemotherapy patient with poor vascular access.”

Training on the device took place earlier this month in collaboration with the Centre for Paramedics Education and Research in Guelph and Arthur. In all, 150 paramedics have been trained to use the drill, however, only advanced care paramedics have the authority to use it.

Swantko adds, “This device means access to treatment for every patient in Guelph and Wellington Country who might need it, regardless of whether the vascular system can be accessed by traditional means.”

Other emergency services using the EZ-IO drill include Six Nations Ambulance Service, Middlesex-London Emergency Medical Services, and air ambulances in Ontario. The new device costs about $95 and replaces an antiquated disposable intraosseous infusion needle only available for use on children.

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