November 9, 2007 - The National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) issued guidance Nov. 8 to all its members advocating carbon monoxide screenings for patients presenting with any of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, and advocated enhanced carbon monoxide training programs.
In a letter to its membership issued earlier this month, NAEMSE said failing to diagnose carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning during the emergency response efforts may lead to poor prehospital decisions, including failure to transport, failure to transport to an appropriate facility, failure to properly treat and failure of the emergency department to diagnose. The consequence of misdiagnosis can often result in returning the patient to a poisoned environment, possibly leading to a fatal outcome. Recognizing that CO poisoning - the most common form of poisoning in the United States - is notoriously difficult to detect, NAEMSE said improved screening and implementation of proper carbon monoxide EMS training programs can lead to improved outcomes for patients and potentially save many lives.
Even the most skilled first responders can miss the chance to treat carbon monoxide poisoning early, because until now there hasn’t been a fast, accurate and noninvasive way to detect elevated levels of CO in the blood. However, with the Masimo Rainbow SET Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximeter, EMS professionals can easily detect carbon monoxide poisoning on the spot in just seconds with the push of a button. In addition, Rad-57 can also limit the likelihood of long-term cardiac and neurological damage that can result from nonfatal exposures.
“We see first-hand the overwhelming and immediate need for carbon monoxide screening during the first response stage and the importance of standardized carbon monoxide training protocols for EMS professionals as a matter of public safety,” said NAEMSE President Angel Burba.
NAEMSE will soon have a new online training program available to all its members, free of charge, on its Web site www.naemse.org. The program covers the physiological dangers of CO poisoning, its signs and symptoms, as well as noninvasive methods for on-scene detection of CO in the blood. The modules include downloadable student workbooks, instructor manuals and PowerPoint slides for classroom presentation.
For more information: www.naemse.org.