EMBER is a oxygen warming device designed for pre-hospital hypothermia treatment performed by Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
When the body temperature drops below 35degrees Celsius one enters a state called Hypothermia, it is a common problem in the pre-hospital care, studies has shown that as many as 40-60% of the trauma patients suffers from Hypothermia when the EMS personnel arrives at the scene. When the body temperature drops the metabolism and respiration rates follows. Hypothermia decreases the patients blood coagulation, reduces effects of medicine and complicates further treatment.
In order to ease respiration and help the patient to saturate, oxygen is administered. The oxygen is delivered from a gas tube. When oxygen is converting from a liquid state inside the tube, to a gas on the outside it turns cold. The cold gas adjusts slightly to the surrounding temperature but never reaching body temperature 37 degrees Celsius before being inhaled, cooling the patient further.
EMBER aims to change this, introducing a quick way of warming and humidifying oxygen. EMBER retrofits to todays standardised oxygen equipment. The oxygen equipment can be applied on the patient as currently done with the exception that EMBER is connected on the hose between the mask and the tube. When EMBER is connected it immediately starts to warm and humidify the oxygen. EMBER assists in treating hypothermia which results in a more effective overall treatment and faster recovery for the patient.
The EMBER concept was born from insights collected while doing field studies at the Umea° ambulance station in Sweden. Following the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel in their work and interviewing them made me realise how big of a problem Hypothermia is and how frequent it is in the pre-hospital care, additional information found in an article supported their claims and stated that as many as 40-60% of the trauma patients suffers from Hypothermia when the paramedics arrives.
When the body drops below 35degrees Celsius the body enters the state of Hypothermia. The colder the body gets the slower the metabolism becomes along with the respiration. This results in a series of complications that makes further treatment of the patient more difficult. Hypothermic patients absorbs medicine slower, their blood coagulates at a slower phase and they are often more anxious then other patients.
"If we felt how cold the patients are maybe we would be reminded to turn up the heat in the car".
Paramedic at Umea° ambulance station.
Hypothermia is in many cases not the main cause for treatment, rather an additional illness that complicates the treatment of the main. It can be hard to discover if the patient is light Hypothermic and it gets out of focus due to other treatments. But if the Hypothermia is addressed and treated it can speed up the patients healing process and reduce further complications.
In current Hypothermia treatment oxygen is administered to the patient, this is due to the decreased ability to saturate (Lower levels of oxygen in the blood) The oxygen is delivered from a gas tube. When the oxygen is converting from a liquid state inside the tube, to a gas on the outside, the oxygen turns cold. The cold gas adjusts slightly to the surrounding temperature but never reaching body temperature (37 degrees Celsius) before being inhaled by the patient. The result of this is that the patient is inhaling cold oxygen and exhales warm carbon dioxide that the body has warmed up and in turn lowering the body temperature.
The thing that struck me the most while doing field studies following the paramedics, was the deep empathy they have for the patient. The patient is given full attention and is the centre of the operations. This means that the equipment they use most be fast and easy to apply and leave no room for errors. With this in mind the concept was developed keeping the paramedic and their passion for helping others in mind. Creating a concept that would allow them to give their full attention to the patient while applying and setting up the product.
The concept has derived from a series of studies made at the Umea° ambulance station, including the paramedics opinions, understanding for the current treatments, in which situations the EMS personnel faces hypothermic patients along with learning how the body temperature regulation works and the complexity of it.
EMBER is developed to fit into the ecosystem of EMS equipment and retrofit to any type of oxygen administering equipment, since the paramedics uses different kinds depending on situation. Designing for pre-hospital use and the EMS service is not just about designing and solving the technical and semantic aspects of the usages during operation, after the patient is dropped of at the hospital the ambulance has to be ready to immediately go out on the next call. There is little or no time formaintenance, EMBER is design with this in mind and requires bare minimum of care. The surface of the battery unit is smooth and has now cavities collecting bacterias and dirt, making it easy to sterilise with alcohol, the water/heater cartridge is calculated to last until the ambulance reaches the emergency and is disposed after use.
EMBER offers a format that does not exist on the market. It is easy to apply to the patient and saves time for the paramedic in a time critical situation. The cartridge and heater unit snaps together and the humidification and warming of the oxygen starts immediately without having to push any buttons. EMBER is designed to be an inexpensive but still qualitative device.
EMBER assists the paramedic in treating hypothermia with warm and humidified oxygen resulting in a more effective overall treatment and faster recovery for the patient.
It’ so simple. The transparent capsule shows the technology, and it’s well executed too.