Measles Transport with EpiShuttle in Oslo

Measles Transport with EpiShuttle in Oslo

In early May 2019, paramedics Bård Erik Nilsson and Stian Fischer were on call at the ambulance service in Oslo. Just before midnight they got a call from a doctor at the emergency ward who had an adult male patient with a suspected case of measles. The patient needed to be transferred to the isolation ward at Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital for further care.

Measles is a dangerous, highly contagious disease with potentially severe outcomes and limited treatment options. It’s therefore important that utmost care is taken when transporting patients with measles, particularly as there has been a decline in vaccination rates over the last few years and a resulting increase in the number of people susceptible to the virus.

As described in their procedures, Bård Erik and Stian donned full personal protective equipment (PPE) upon arrival at the emergency ward to ensure that they weren’t exposed to the virus. Once the patient was loaded into the EpiShuttle, however, they could safely remove their PPE and continue the rest of the operation in their standard uniforms.

“It’s so much easier to concentrate on the mission and be aware of your surroundings when you don’t have to wear heavy PPE. This is a real safety advantage when using the EpiShuttle,”

says paramedic Stian Fischer.

“It was also far easier to communicate with the patient.”

The EpiShuttle, which was securely mounted on a Stollenwerk stretcher with adapters from EpiGuard, was wheeled into the back of a standard ambulance and driven the 4 km to Lovisenberg, where there was a doctor waiting to meet them.

“Arriving at Lovisenberg with the patient in the EpiShuttle was perfect. The doctor met us at the entrance and could easily talk to the patient and examine his rash through the transparent hard top while he was still isolated. After the initial inspection, we could safely transport the patient through the hospital to the isolation ward, without risk of contaminating staff or patients in the hallways and elevators along the way,”

says paramedic Bård Erik Nilsson.

“Before the EpiShuttle, we would have used the ambulance service’s specially designed infection ambulance for this type of patient transport. Although that has worked well, using the EpiShuttle was much easier logistically and operationally. We could use the standard ambulance that we had on hand, and get right back on the road after the patient was delivered. There was no need for lengthy and expensive disinfection of the ambulance.”

When they had a quiet period later, Bård Erik and Stian disinfected the EpiShuttle and prepared it for future use. The user manual guided them through the process, which was straightforward. Subsequent to a risk assessment, they replaced gaskets and seals on the glove ports that had been used, leaving the unused gloves in place.

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