Northfield, Ill., Nov. 17, 2017 – Emergency medical workers and law enforcement face a new threat: fentanyl. The CDC published new data from 10 states showing more than half of the people who died of opioid overdoses in the second half of 2016 tested positive for fentanyl. The Drug Enforcement Agency says fentanyl is 30-50 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more potent than morphine. That potency can cause first responders to accidentally overdose if they encounter only a small amount of the drug. Medline is in ongoing discussions with members of the EMS industry to better understand their concerns knowing they can be at risk when trying to save lives. The CDC, along with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), issued new guidelines urging these workers to use standard safe work practices and personal protective equipment such as gloves.
Many EMTs and paramedics use hospital-grade exam gloves. Until recently, it’s been unclear how well they could protect against the lethal substance. Now, new test results show Medline’s Critical Response gloves, designed specifically to stand up to the rigors of the field, are resistant to fentanyl exposure for up to four hours.
“First responders are already stretched thin as they respond to the growing opioid epidemic,” says Rhonda Baliff, post-acute care divisional sales manager, Medline, and a former volunteer EMT. “The surging rate of opioid abuse and related deaths makes it even more critical to have tested and proven products available to support their own safety.”
The opioid epidemic is a problem in small, rural towns and in large metropolitan areas like New York City, where the number of times EMS workers administered Naloxone spiked from about 5,000 in 2015 to more than 7,600 in 2016. “The opioid epidemic is in every community. It doesn’t matter the age, race or religion,” says Shimon Feldman, an EMT and director of safety and compliance for RCA Ambulance Service.
Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, Inc. conducted specialized testing for resistance of fentanyl on Medline’s Critical Response Gloves used by EMS workers. To conduct the testing, ARDL required DEA approval. ARDL tests found Medline’s Critical Response Gloves resisted permeation of fentanyl for up to 240 minutes. “You don’t know what substances you’re dealing with when you respond to an overdose,” says Feldman. “As an EMT, having verified results about how well my gloves can protect against fentanyl would make me feel more confident on the job.”
Critical Response gloves are a highly visible, bright orange and are specially made for emergency personnel and demanding, high stress situations. These strong, gloves provide advanced protection and optimal grip ideal for rapid response. In addition to protecting against fentanyl exposure, the gloves:
- Exceed FDA testing requirements for pinhole deficiencies,
- Meet the standard for the National Fire Protection Association, and
- Are fully textured from fingertips to cuff for a better grip when handling patients.
Along with the Critical Response gloves, Medline has supplied organizations with Narcan, which is used for the emergency treatment of opioid overdoses, and the P100 mask that offers respiratory protection.
Education for Growing Epidemic
Medline University developed a course called “Battling the Painkiller Addiction Epidemic.” With more than 200 free courses available for continuing education credit, this particular online curriculum is one of the top 30 courses completed to help healthcare workers looking to better understand this epidemic, the physiology of opioid abuse, and treatment. It can be found at https://www.medlineuniversity.com/lms/course/1010004090/.
For more information about Medline’s Critical Response Gloves, visit http://www.medline.com/product/Critical-Response-Nitrile-Exam-Gloves/Z05-PF105686. For more information about Medline’s offerings for EMS providers, visit https://www.medline.com/pages/who-we-serve/ems/.
Interview opportunities to discuss personal protective equipment for EMS workers are available with Rhonda Baliff. As a former volunteer EMT, Baliff understands the stress emergency medical workers are under and what’s needed to provide the best patient care while staying safe.
Medline is a global manufacturer and distributor serving the health care industry with medical supplies and clinical solutions that help customers achieve both clinical and financial success. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., the company offers 350,000+ medical devices and support services through more than 1,400 direct sales representatives who are dedicated points of contact for customers across the continuum of care. For more information on Medline, go to www.medline.com or http://www.medline.com/social-media to connect with Medline on its social media channels.
About Akron Rubber Development Laboratory, Inc.
ARDL, Inc. is an A2LA ISO 17025 accredited, ISO 9001:2008 registered, FDA compliant, independent testing and consulting laboratory, specializing in rubber, plastic and latex. ARDL, Inc. works with the medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace, construction and military industries – plus many more. ARDL, Inc. finds solutions to customers’ toughest problems regarding polymers, including compound analysis and development, conducting process and production audits, creating highly advanced test systems when a standardized testing specification does not exist, designing application-specific failure analysis programs, predicting service and shelf-life and much more. For more information about ARDL, Inc., please visit www.ardl.com.
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