MHC Paramedic students test new-age ultrasound tech

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
·2 min read

Second-year paramedic students at Medicine Hat College were able to get first-hand training with cutting-edge equipment.

The students spent classroom time working with handheld ultrasound equipment, using the gear on a peer volunteer. While practising, the students looked for health versions of different organs.

“As technology progressed, ultrasound equipment was used more and more in Canada and the United States at hospitals,” said course instructor Duane Delaurier. “The problem was that the equipment was always too big for the pre-hospital setting.

“Now, in 2020, these items are small enough to put in your pocket. It’s important to get our students trained on this equipment, and I’m happy we have access to it.”

Delaurier says there are many practical uses for the new equipment.

“It’s being used a lot for COVID-19 patients,” he said. “An ultrasound image is a good way to see if a patient has COVID, and it is as informative as a CT scan. The great part about the ultrasound is that we don’t have to put someone through radiation.

“The ultrasound equipment is so small that it can be wrapped in a plastic bag and maintain sterility. That way you can just go to a patient’s bed and see what’s going on.”

Second-year student Oscar Moreno says the equipment has been fun and informative to use.

“Previous to this year, I don’t think any EMS programs had access to this equipment,” he said. “This gives myself and others the opportunity to practice and utilize this device to diagnose and treat abnormalities in a human.

“We used this on an actual person to see what everything was supposed to look like. This will make us better paramedics when we get out there.”

Ultrasound equipment was brought into the program three years ago and Delaurier wants to expand on the device usage with students.

Paramedic program co-ordinator Scott Mullin is going over different brands of equipment to purchase so the equipment can be added to the curriculum.

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News