Pocket device helps Nepalese earthquake victims breathe
The BVM (bag valve mask) is one of an emergency responder’s main tools. Israeli paramedics designed the world’s first ‘pocket’ version of this lifesaver.
By Abigail Klein Leichman
Among the Israeli medical innovations that paramedic Dov Maisel brought to Nepal to treat victims after last month’s devastating earthquake was the Pocket BVM (bag valve mask), a uniquely collapsible version of an essential device that emergency medical crews need for manual resuscitation and respiratory support.
Maisel isn’t only a user of the Pocket BVM; he’s also one of its inventors.
On the market since 2007 from the Jerusalem-based company MicroBVM, the inexpensive Pocket BVM folds into a protective case, allowing EMS workers to fit 20 of the devices into the space of two regular-sized resuscitators — yet once unfolded, the units look and operate the same as regular ones.
For responders to mass casualty scenes such as in Nepal, the ability to carry several BVMs is critical.
Some 100,000 units of the Pocket BVM are in use all over the world. It has become the resuscitator of choice for all branches of the US military, NATO forces, the Israel Defense Forces and civilian emergency medical response teams around the globe.
“What’s on our back is what we have, so we’re very limited,” Maisel told ISRAEL21c on Thursday morning from Gorkha, Nepal, where his team is treating earthquake victims.
“I can carry a number of the Pocket BVMs with me, and the field box prevents dust, rubble and humidity from getting inside, so they’re really made for this situation. Thank God we haven’t needed to resuscitate many people yet, and I hope I won’t be using all the ones I brought with me.”
Innovation out of terror
Like many other revolutionary Israeli medical devices the Pocket BVM was born of tragic necessity.
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