First IC Units Start In Washington, D.C., Area

First IC Units Start In Washington, D.C., Area

Montgomery County began operating two mobile intensive care units (MICUs) on September 30, providing the latest medical care in an emergency vehicle and the first of its kind in the Washington Metropolitan area.

In officially placing the units into service, County Executive James P. Gleason said, “This field emergency medical service is second to none in the nation. It means Montgomery County is now giving its citizens the difference between life and death— the chance to be kept alive during the critical transport time to the hospital.”

The vehicles are staffed by paramedics and equipped with sophisticated life support services. They have the capability to administer intravenous fluids and drugs as well as EKG heart monitoring and defibrillation to stabilize failing hearts. The units will be manned with highly trained volunteer and career paramedic personnel certified by the state board of medical examiners, with 65 paramedics already trained and approved.

The MICUs will be dispatched on major life-threatening incidents such as heart attacks, automobile accidents, electrocutions, serious burns, gunshot and stab wounds. Paramedics can maintain radio communication while on the scene and en route with physicians at any of the county’s four hospitals. Physicians will advise on the medical treatment to be provided.

Thirty fire departments and rescue squad ambulances answer 30,000 emergency medical calls in Montgomery County annually. Officials estimate that 10,000 of those patients will benefit directly from the MICU operations as a result of the new specialized medical care.

County fire and rescue authorit ies anticipate that the MICU operation can save 100 lives a year and that 900 persons will go through fewer medical complications and a shorter hospital stay because of the MICU program.

The first two MICUs will be stationed at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad and the Wheaton Rescue Squad but will provide service throughout the county. A third is scheduled early for delivery.

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