Cherokee Nation EMS Gets Airway Video Equipment

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla.— Successful airway management is one of the most important and difficult EMS tasks paramedics often face, but Cherokee Nation EMS now has enhanced equipment to make that task a little less daunting.

LayngoscopeThe new device is a video-laryngoscope, which is an instrument for performing endotracheal intubation, which displays the target anatomy on a screen or monitor. Video laryngoscopes have been commonplace in hospital anesthesia departments for a number of years, but have only recently began to be used by EMS providers.  With the recent addition of new video airway equipment to the Cherokee Nation EMS ambulance fleet, the tribe’s EMS service is one of the few to offer this technology outside of a hospital or clinic.

“We strive to be progressive in offering the best possible care to those we serve,” said Jimmy Summerlin, Director of Cherokee Nation EMS.  “Airway management is one of the most important and difficult tasks for EMS providers. The addition of this new technology will assist our EMS providers with difficult airway management and promises to make intubation easier and safer for our patients.”

Video laryngoscopy systems provide a clear picture of the larynx and vocal cords on a display monitor, enabling control of the endotracheal tube in its trajectory toward the airway. This type of clearly displayed view facilitates fast, accurate views in difficult airways, helping prevent further complications.

Emergency airway management is a high-risk, low-frequency skill in the environment of EMS and one of the most important procedures performed by providers in the pre-hospital setting. Studies have shown that video laryngoscopes can improve laryngeal view and increase successful airway management in adults and pediatrics, ensuring better care for the patient.

“In the healthcare field technology is ever changing,” Summerlin said. “We have also implemented this new equipment into our training program which allows us to share and train many of our healthcare providers throughout the Cherokee Nation Health Services system with this new technology.”

Photo Cutline:  Cherokee Nation EMS Operations Manager Tracy Glory demonstrates the new video laryngoscope, which is now used in the Cherokee Nation EMS ambulance fleet.  Cherokee Nation is one of the few EMS services in the area to utilize this technology in the EMS field.

About Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people. It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 300,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capital located in Tahlequah, Okla. Employing more than 8,200 people, Cherokee Nation’s annual economic impact in Oklahoma and surrounding areas is more than $1.3 billion. To learn more, please visit

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