Date: May 25th, 2017
Location: High Desert
Ambient Temperature: ~75
Evidence: See Attachment
Suspects: Mother Nature
Background: It was a beautiful, sunny, day. It was that weird time of the year when the heater was needed in the aircraft at night, but the air conditioning was needed during the day. During the early morning checks, the victims removed the heater from the night before but did not transition to the air conditioner- as it was still rather cold at ~0830. A busy morning of training left the victims distracted and hangry. Hangry is a common medical condition afflicting EMS workings in which the level of hunger exponentially correlates to the shortness of tempers. The victims hastened to the kitchen to deal with their impending expiration from starvation, leaving them completely unaware to the havoc that the suspect was creating. After providing lifesaving self-care, the victims returned to their majestic steed to find the suspect in full destructive force. An attentive suspect noticed that the response bag had been exposed to direct sunlight, and the cabin temperature had climbed to well over 100 degrees, even though the ambient temperature remained quite comfortable. The victims decided that an inventory check was necessary to the exceedance of normal cabin temp limits, upon which time they found their beloved i-gel beaten beyond recognition. They immediately identified Mother Nature as a suspect and contacted local authorities.
Charges: Murder, Negligence
Verdict: Mother Nature found guilty on 1 count of i-gel-icide, Crew found guilty of Negligence and i-gel-islaughter.
What really happened: While working at a previous program (in an A-Star), we had some i-gels that were melting. After trial and error, we found that this was due to a number of unique factors. While it is unlikely that another program would have the exact same set of circumstances occur and melt their i-gels, I do think it is good to be aware of.
Cause: The aircraft was facing in such a position that the sunlight would shine through the gurney side window at an angle in the morning, and the angle of the glass (coupled with the curve of the window) substantially focused and amplified the intensity of the sunlight. This directed all the sunlight onto the first out bag that stayed strapped to the stretcher and condensed it into a focused pattern about 8” in diameter. To make matters worse, the i-gels were stored in a black colored first out bag and were in a pocket that made direct contact with the outside of the bag. This caused the i-gels to be separated from the extreme sunlight by only a thin layer of black Cordura-type fabric. This allowed for substantial heat transfer and was found to melt and deform the i-gels. The deformity was substantial enough that they likely would have not formed a true seal if inserted in a patient. They were also found to be melted to the actual packaging, and separating them from the packaging was a task in and of itself.
Solution: After this incident, we began making sure that a sunshade covered the side window and first out bag during the warmer months. Air conditioning alone may have helped, but is unlikely to have completely fixed the problem due to the way the sun was amplified onto the bag.