MERRILL, Wis. (WAOW) -- Since 2006, the Merrill Fire Department's ambulance service is EMT — Paramedic, the highest level of pre-hospital emergency care.
Starting July 1, Merrill paramedics will add another skill: Rapid Sequential Intubation (RSI). This is a life saving and necessary skill for critically injured or ill patients that need assistance breathing properly.
The Merrill Fire Department describes RSI as an advanced procedure that requires a minimum of two paramedics to complete. A sedative and paralytic are administered, which allows paramedics to insert a breathing tube to ventilate the patient.
“We are excited to finally add RSI to our EMS protocols,” said Battalion Chief Scott Krause. “We’ve known for years that we had patients who would have benefited from this procedure and now we are finally making it happen,”
With the RSI upgrade is the purchase of video laryngoscopes. The devices allow paramedics to better visualize the vocal cords when placing the breathing tube. This leads to higher success rate of intubation, less possible damage to the patient, and makes the intubation process safer for paramedics.
Paramedics completed RSI training in June under Dr. Micheal Clark, a licensed physician and the medical director for the Merrill Fire Department.