Butterflies Fly with Benefis Mercy Flight

As he weighed what to do with a patient in distress on a flight back from Browning, Brian Schruth, flight RN, turned to a new piece of technology.

Benefis Mercy Flight is the first medical air ambulance in the state to have Butterfly iQ ultrasound probes. As he ran the probe over the patient’s chest, Brian could rule out cardiac swelling. That means he didn’t have to stick a needle into the man’s heart.

The probes are the size of an electric razor and weigh less than a pound. They connect with tablet computers for an instant view into the body.

“These are really handy to have,” Brian said. “We can see if there is fluid in the belly and they need to go right into the operating room. It’s nice for veins. We don’t diagnose, but it helps us rule things out.”

Difficult needle sticks are distressing for the people on both ends of the needle. This device helps ensure a smooth stick by showing where and how deep the veins are, plus it follows the needle in.

The Butterflies also help in the Emergency Department, mainly with starting IVs, said Bill Smith, Mercy Flight operations specialist/flight nurse. The device helps tell staff if the venae cavae, the large veins to the heart, are swollen. That can tell them if the person has too much fluid or is dehydrated, important information when it comes to putting in an IV.