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New tech at heart of ambulance

Claire Greenwood [corpuls], Peter Gardner [USL], and Julia Giblin [Wellington Free Ambulance] with the new defibrillator. PHOTOS/JOHN LAZO-RON

One minute, or even one second, can be crucial to saving someone’s life. And Wellington Free Ambulance has found a way to save time and possibly lives, after adding state-of-the-art technology defibrillators to their paramedic equipment. JOHN LAZO-RON reports.

Wellington Free Ambulance became the first ambulance service in New Zealand to sign a contract partnership after they teamed up with New Zealand medical distributer USL Medical to bring new state-of-the-art monitoring defibrillators to their bag of equipment.

Wellington Free Ambulance signed a contract partnership with USL Medical in Masterton last Tuesday to bring new state-of-the-art technology defibrillators to their paramedic equipment.

The contract signing, done at WFA’s Masterton station last Tuesday, has a significant link to Wairarapa. It was WFA Wairarapa paramedic staff, along with USL Medical staff, who researched and trialed the new technology last year.

It was made by German emergency and intensive care equipment manufacturer corpuls.

The new corpuls3Touch monitoring defibrillator – a device that closely monitors the cardiac activity and if necessary, restores a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart – is an innovative, wireless and touch screen technology that sends information in real time to clinical paramedics and specialist hospital staff.

Time is of the essence in emergency. The corpuls3 is intended to not only deliver on-the-spot data, but also make a paramedics job much easier and faster because it is half the weight [6.1kg] of the defibrillator currently used.

“Saving time means saving more lives,” WFA Board chairwoman Dame Kerry Prendergast said at the signing.

“We know every minute counts in a cardiac arrest situation.

“To provide the highest quality emergency care we must continually explore advancements in specialty equipment and innovative technology. We have achieved this with the new corpuls3Touch and the strong relationship between our paramedics and USL Medical.”

USL Medical business manager Peter Gardner said he was excited to see this new technology kick-off in its full use here in Wairarapa,saying it will make a difference in a paramedic’s day-to-day job.

“It’s fantastic,” Gardner said starting off the new corpuls3Touch in Wairarapa.

“This is where we started it on a trialing perspective and to now kick it off here and finally get everything signed is fantastic.

“I think watching the paramedics and the ability for them to use this technology is the way forward for them and making life a little bit easier for them in their job is the most important thing.

“This is a very exciting partnership that shows how together Wellington Free Ambulance paramedics and USL Medical were able to work together over several months to design and create a new state-of-the-art defibrillator that will save more lives.”

One of the paramedics who used the new corpuls3Touch on patients during its trial period was Wairarapa WFA intensive care paramedic officer Adam Stevenson.

He said although the new and current defibrillator both serve their purpose well, there was a significant difference between the two when it came to weight and time.

“The thing we loved about [the corpuls3Touch] was that it was lightweight,” he said.

“When you went into a job you had to carry the whole [old] defibrillator which was very weighty, as opposed to this one which you can carry just in one component.

“This one splits into three, while the older one was one big unit which was heavy.

“It was also modular, and the wireless activity was great, so it made work flow a lot easier and it was user friendly for staff.”

Although celebrating this major milestone, WFA said they would still require donation support to fund more of the new defibrillators, which has a price tag of $43,000, and would also come with naming rights.

“WFA will require the amazing support of our donors, business partners and our community to help us fund a large number of corpuls3Touch defibrillators,” WFA director of fundraising Claire Carruthers said.

“I believe this is exactly what our donors would like to see their generous donations being used for. “Innovative, life-saving technology that helps our paramedics to do what they do every day.

“Can’t put a price on saving lives.”

  • To support Wellington Free Ambulance, go to, www.wfa.org.nz/donate/ or call 0508 WFA FREE (0508 932 3733).

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