Honoring our Veterans and the Role of POCUS in the Military
Did you know there are 18.2 million veterans who live in the United States (US)? The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) healthcare program has the privilege of serving over nine million veterans every year! Without a doubt, our vets deserve the best there is to offer in healthcare. Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is having a significant impact on this effort. Military men and women are receiving the highest quality of care when medical providers use POCUS in their diagnostic practices.
The healthcare community serving veterans share the POCUS Certification Academy’s™ mission to advocate for point-of-care ultrasound as an incredible tool for improving patient care. We see this charge in action, as one of the leading devices of POCUS—the Butterfly IQ—had its US debut in the Veteran’s Affairs NY Harbor Healthcare System.
In fact, the inception of POCUS began with protecting our military. Since Desert Storm in 1991, emergency ultrasound (EUS) became a mandatory component for the training of all military emergency physicians. In 1997, SonoSite™ corporation formed in response to the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA), tasking of the development of a pocket-sized ultrasound device to benefit combat operations.
In 1999, the company launched the SonoSite 180™, the first battery-powered, lightweight, and portable ultrasound device. For the Army, Air Force, and Navy, it became the standard issue for all trauma physicians from that point forward. We can credit the very existence of POCUS to meeting the distinctive healthcare needs of our armed forces.
In the article, Veterans benefit from new portable ultrasound device, we read how Dr. Harold Sauthoff was able to provide precise answers to a veteran with lung cancer. POCUS allowed him to quickly and accurately identify fluid around his patient’s lungs. Immediately, Dr. Sauthoff provided direction on the next steps for a plan of care. Stories like this one are perfect examples of how POCUS has a positive impact, modernizing how we provide veteran healthcare services.
In situations like these, time is of the essence for our elderly veterans. When POCUS can reduce the time in providing explanations, this is a tremendous victory for everyone. As with all patients, caring for our veterans requires practitioners to handle their care with delicacy. POCUS supports this by eliminating the potential for radiation ionization through CT scans, making diagnosis streamlined and safer. Valuing our veterans is a top priority for our nation, and POCUS is helping medical providers of our VA healthcare system live out this precedence.
Not only is POCUS affecting the lives of our veterans, but it’s also helping us better serve our active-duty soldiers. The military represents the frontlines of defense when it comes to preserving our freedom for equal human rights—point-of-care ultrasound shares in this frontline positioning by protecting our armed forces through advanced healthcare technology.
On the battlefield, medics are equipped with essential supplies and equipment. At times they’re bearing only their stethoscope and hands. POCUS is redefining this norm. Furnished with this powerful handheld device, medical officers become armed and outfitted to do more for the troops they tend to.
POCUS is truly portable, weighing less than six pounds. It helps medical professionals deliver a diagnosis right at the point-of-care site. In this high-pressure environment, being able to make split-second decisions based on sound evidence is vital to protecting our soldiers. The ability to deliver answers rapidly because of POCUS is saving the lives of those who risk it all for our freedom!
Dr. Daniel Price explains that getting a response from wounded soldiers can pose a challenge when they are unconscious. POCUS becomes the voice of those unable to communicate. POCUS also aids in detecting foreign objects, a heartbeat, collapsed lungs, and locating veins for intravenous fluids. At times, a decision must made about which soldier needs the most urgent care. POCUS delivers this answer.
Dr. Jonathan Monti shares an inspiring real-life story of how POCUS was able to save the life of a soldier in the article, Point-of-Care Ultrasound Diagnostic Tool Use on the Rise. He describes a semi-conscious soldier who was brought to his clinic in Afghanistan. The patient exhibited no apparent head injuries, and his wounds did not send off any alarms.
In a second analysis done using POCUS, Dr. Monti discovered bleeding around the heart. They were able to intervene immediately, draining the blood and saving this soldier’s life. This experience was the first time Dr. Monti used point-of-care ultrasound, but it most definitely was not his last. The experience inspired Dr. Monti to establish the Society of Point of Care Ultrasound.
What Dr. Monti, the POCUS Certification Academy, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs agree upon is the need for POCUS educational and training initiatives. There are countless online sources from the VA, all ending with the same call for action. The appeal for programs based on standards of excellence is one heard across the medical industry.
Our freedom fighters deserve the healthcare treatment of royalty. A commitment to standardize training and education will ensure that medical providers using POCUS give such care. Unprecedented patient care for all, no matter the environment, location, creed, or condition, is the aim. Let’s take a page from the books of our armed forces and battle as a POCUS community to make this goal a reality.
The POCUS Certification Academy salutes all of you who have put your lives on the line for our freedom. We will continue to work to be a medical community prepared to provide you the most exceptional care possible.
Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service!
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