Laughing away the pain on Maine ambulances

NOW: Laughing gas in ambulances

BRIDGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With Shawnee Peak just minutes away, paramedics with United Ambulance in Bridgton see their fair share of painful injuries.

"We have the ability to give Fentanyl for pain meds, and we also have to ability to give Nitronox," says Ian Kay, a paramedic with United.
 
Pain is no laughing matter, but Nitronox is a mix of oxygen and nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, and it goes to work quickly to help ease your pain.
 
"We just have to patient hold it and they breathe in," says Kay. "When they inhale, the medication is administered."
 
Every patient is different, and sometimes laughing gas is a better option for pain management on an ambulance ride than an opioid like Fentanyl.
 
"Some of the reasons would be is a patient has a fear of needles," says Chris Desjardins, a paramedic with United. "Or if a patient has had a previous addiction and they don't want to fall into that position again."
 
Nitronox is not an opioid, and its effects only last two to five minutes. But you won't find it on all ambulances in Maine. Bridgton says their Nitronox field unit cost close to $5,000. The state says carrying it is optional, and it can only be administered by a paramedic.
 
Bridgton sees it as an asset, especially at a time where opioid abuse is all around.
 
"Having the ability to give them Nitronox is a great alternative so we can still give them pain meds, and they can still be rest assured that they are not going to get that medication they're afraid of," says Kay.
 
 
 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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