EMTs & Other First Repsonders Learn Poison Threats, Stroke Signs, More at EMS Training Day

May 16, 2016

The overdose drug Narcan can be administered by injection or by inhaling, as demonstrated by Dan Taylor of Upstate Medical University.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Emergency Medical Service providers in Central New York respond fast when you need them and what they encounter on each call is constantly evolving.  About 200 of them learned about latest treatments and emergency trends today during E-M-S Teaching Day.

Upstate Poison Center Toxicologist Jeanna Marraffa discussed the most common accidental forms of poisonings in children.  She says sometimes the pills for Attention Deficit Disorder for older brothers and sisters can get in the wrong hands by accident.

“It’s easy to drop a pill on the ground and you don’t recognize or realize it.  Then if a child gets into one, I’m hoping that by the end of the day today, our E-M-S professionals will have an idea of what to look for and ask those questions, especially if it’s an unknown of a child who is very sleepy, having difficulty breathing , some decreases in their vital signs.”

First Responders learned how to treat respiratory distress
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Marraffa says kids eating laundry pods containing detergent continues to be a problem and ingestion of synthetic marijuana and liquid nicotine.  Aside from slurred speech or facial drooping, which can indicate a stroke, Upstate Stroke Program Manager Jennifer Schleier says other signs can get missed.

“Our community and E-M-S providers don’t realize that can also incorporate altered mental status.  So a patient could have been normally very wakeful and talking, then have a sudden onset of being sleepy or not answering questions appropriately.”

More first responders also were taught how to administer Narcan to treat heroin overdoses by Upstate E-M-T Educator Dan Taylor.

“There are E-M-T’s with fire departments that previously might not have carried these medications that are now giving it.  We have members of law enforcement here; we have other first responders that may work on a factory floor, so they have  responsibility other than emergency response typically.  So when a problem arises they are able to give those medications.” 

The training was held at the Welch Allyn Lodge in Skaneateles and coincides with E-M-S Week which began in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.