EMS gets much-needed heart monitor
January 30, 2020
The Moorcroft Volunteer Ambulance Service has had to discontinue use of their existing heart monitors due to malfunctions and the manufacturer’s closing of product support.
After a candid conversation with the governing body at a recent meeting, EMT volunteers Jessica Schnabel and Dorothy Baron returned to Monday night’s gathering to advocate the lease/purchase of the Stryker monitor that will cost the town $36,000.
Salesman Adam Meyers was on hand to explain the tool and expense to the council, who expressed some reticence on hearing the cost of the heart monitor/defibrillator “Lifepac 15”.
“We want to do this in the most economical way possible. You guys are in a bit of a bind so what we’ve done is put together a few different payment options for you to review,” said Meyers.
While the council previously had been under the impression that they could not offer the current monitors for trade-in because of the prerequisites of the grant, Clerk/Treasurer Cheryl Schneider learned that the state is actually allowing said transaction because that original grant no longer exists, nullifying the obligation.
Councilman Owen Mathews asked for clarification on the differences on the differences between the extras on the Lifepac 15 and the Lifepac base model, stating, “In a perfect world, having all that is great, I get that, but this is $40,000 and I want to know why we need all that.”
He also questioned the volunteer crews’ ability to operate the machine to actually help people to its fullest extent and understand the information it would provide.
Schnabel interrupted this thought, though: “Three months ago, we had a [heart attack] going down the D Road, our monitor could not detect that. We couldn’t get the proper resources we needed with our paramedic intercept would not allow us to read those strips.” She assured the council of the actual need for the Lifepac15.
Schnabel admitted to not having the training currently to read and understand the newer machine; however, Baron argued for the better patient care it can provide and assured that efforts would be made to understand and utilize the newer tech.
“I just signed up for the advance cardiac life support class and if we purchase these, then I’ll have that,” she said.
Councilman Ben Glenn, who has long been a volunteer fireman, advocated the best patient care and volunteer training as part of that endeavor. He said, “As a fireman, we didn’t have anybody trained at extrication until we got those brand new extrication tools. If it’s a learning tool, maybe it will further our department to go on and gain more knowledge...and [we] hope that they rise to the occasion. We can’t limit them by the tools we buy them.”
Mathews explained, “I’m not trying to say it’s not worthwhile, don’t misunderstand me, but the reality is that we have a limited budget. What can we afford to get to make sure we provide the best care we can say that there is a long list of things that would increase care to put it on and it would; the question is, with the amount of money we have how many of those things can we get to provide that care that is actually usable?”
“Yes,” he continued, “Everybody’s life matters and how do you put a price on that? At the same time, we do essentially have a price tag on what we have to pay out so what tools can we get to best supply that?”
Schnabel responded, “There’s not a price on somebody’s life.”
The council and Meyers discussed each of the payment options available after which the mayor asked his attending council for their advice. The town chose to trade in the existing monitor for a value of $4000 with the $12,000 that had already been set aside for this eventuality and a deferral for 11 months, at which time the town will make annual payments for six years for a total of approximately $36,000.
Mathews suggested that the service begin searching for grants to help offset the cost of the next one they need, to which they agreed.