Sunday, December 25, 2011

Small Tools

Added a couple of small tools to the household for Christmas.

The first was a gift to me.  Last I looked, these were pricier than they are worth, at around $80, but my daughter found some on amazon for cheap cheap.

A Pulse Oximeter for less than $20. They come in a variety of colors (prices are slightly different for different colors; I have no idea why).

A lot has been written about how useful- or not- these are. There is merit to the concept that what they show doesn't change our treatment, so why bother, but I think they have some limited value in a couple of specific circumstances.

One is to show the response to being given Oxygen.  It still doesn't change any treatment I would provide, but as one piece of information I can give to the providers I transfer care to, I think it is useful in a general impression.

The other is something that can happen out here.
Sometimes, I'm on scene before the rescue. I have a limited amount of my own equipment, so I can take vitals, but I don't have any Oxygen to give. In a situation where I can't really provide much in the way of treatment, the more information I can give the medics when they show up, the better, I think. Especially if it changes significantly, which mostly it won't.

But mostly, it's a cool toy to play with at home, really. It shows SpO2 and a pulse rate, and we're having a good time seeing if we can alter the pulse rate on purpose, and seeing what different things make it change the most. We've also been trying to see how long you'd have to hold your breath to get the SpO2 reading to go down. We don't have a job where we spend any time hanging out in or near an ambulance, waiting for a call, so we have very limited access to the equipment on our Rescue, or I'm sure we would have already played enough. The fun will probably wear off in a week or so, but for now...

What I'd really like, of course, is a capnometer, but that's still a bit out of my price range. Like a LOT.

The other tool is a little thing I saw at Home Depot and couldn't resist getting.

It's a Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer.

Amazon lists it at $50, the price I just saw was $30, but I got it on sale for $20.

It's like the baby, baby brother of a thermal imaging camera.
A little, anyway.
Really, it's a heat detector. No image, but a laser pointer with a digital readout of the temperature.
It reads temperatures from -4 to 600 degrees F.

In a pinch, it might not be a bad tool.

I've already found a couple of fun things to use it for at home. One was when I overheated the pan I was cooking French Toast in. Recipes actually specify a temperature for frying things, but there isn't usually a way to know what temperature a pan is. There is now. It was also interesting to see the temperature variations on different parts of the pan.

Anything new in your house?

1 comment:

  1. Linda, don't underestimate the value of that pulse ox! I use mine all the time. NO, it doesn't change our treatment, but it does let us do an ongoing assessment of pulse and SPO2 which tells us A) What was the pt's condx when I arrived, and what is it now. Am I helping this patient. B) Are the pt's vitals returning to normal or trending in the wrong direction? C) what affects the heart rate or O2 levels.
    I have watched pulse rate climb as a family member or PD asks the patient certain questions. I have also watched it drop steadily post auto accident as the patient calms down.
    I stick it on a finger as soon as I arrive and introduce myself. Then I have something to clue me into changes as things progress.
    Now that infrared thermometer is also very handy at live bun drills. I have used a borrowed one to monitor the temp in the burn room. As a safety Officer I don't want things getting out of hand as they can at a live burn. It's just a guide, but it helps a lot to know when the temp is rising or dropping. Very handy and fits in a pocket. Last year we were do our own internal study on using these to check the temp of the uvula on firefighters to get a better idea of their core temp during rehab. Not sure where that stands, but I'll get back to you. Being able to get a good temp without having to strip a lot of gear is helpful. We also tried the auto B/P wrist cuffs with pretty good success.
    Nice thoughtful ideas you've shared. It makes the rest of us think, and that's a good thing.