By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Midwest City first responders will soon have a new lifesaving tool.
SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest and the Midwest City Fire Department are teaming up to provide a special kit to treat patients for cyanide poisoning caused by smoke inhalation.
Cyanokit can remove cyanide from the blood after smoke inhalation. The kit is administered through an IV and stops cyanide from binding to cells.
Synthetic materials produce cyanide gas when they are burned, said Brian Brush, Midwest City Fire Department training chief.
“When it burns it produces a hydrogen cyanide gas that is 200 times greater than oxygen,” Brush said.
Brush said the Cyanokit is akin to Narcan which is used to treat a drug overdose patient.
“The Cyanokit is essentially a reversal agent,” he said. “It goes into your body and pulls the cyanide off of the red blood cells and turns it into vitamin B12 and you excrete it.”
Early administration of the Cyanokit increases the survival rate for cyanide patients.
“When someone goes into cardiac arrest it’s really hard to get to people,” Brush said. “The sooner we can get to them the more likely we are to prevent them from suffering cardiac arrest from the severe smoke inhalation.”
SSM Health purchased the Cyanokits. The kits will be stored on the fire department shift commander vehicle and will be available at all fire scenes. Paramedics will administer the intravenous medication.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department has used cyanokits for a few years.
“We had discussions about house fires and how the cyanokit could be a great benefit,” said Larry Terry, EMS director at SSM Health. “We talked to our hospital leadership and got the cyanokits on the command vehicles, so they’ll always be there on scene during a fire.”
The cyanokits will also be taken to any house fires in eastern Oklahoma County that are part of SSM Health’s coverage area.
Terry said they carried cyanokits in the past when Chromalloy operated a plant in Midwest City. The aerospace manufacturer and repair facility used cyanide in its production. The company closed the plant in 2013.
Firefighters and paramedics have been training on the cyanokits. Terry said they hope to have the cyanokits available next month.