Denver Health authorizes firefighters to administer IVs

DENVER — Denver firefighters will soon be able to administer IVs to patients in need of urgent medical attention.

The policy change comes after talks between Denver Fire and Denver Health to expand Denver Fire paramedic capabilities broke down about three years ago.

Under the City of Denver’s current contract with Denver Health, firefighters cannot provide advanced care in an emergency, including administering intravenous drips.

In an internal memo obtained by Denver7, Denver Health Medical Director Kevin McVaney said he is working with Denver Fire to maximize the care they provide to Denver EMS patients.

The memo was sent out last month, hours before Denver7 Investigates ran a story that talks broke down in 2019. In that story, emails between Denver Fire Captain Jeff Linville and McVaney were showing frustration on Linville’s part as the effort was not advancing at the time. .

Click on the image below to enlarge the memo.

Denver7

Denver7 Investigates also spoke to several firefighters upset that Denver Firefighters cannot provide advanced care on calls.

“I don’t think there’s a logical reason, personally,” Denver Fire Chief Desmond Fulton told Denver7 Investigates, explaining why firefighters couldn’t administer the IVs.

Another firefighter, who spoke to Denver7 with their identity disguised, said he believed Denver Health was preventing firefighters from helping save lives.

“When you have the knowledge and the ability to do something and you’re not allowed to do something, it’s frustrating,” the person said.

Two months before sending the memo, McVaney told members of the Denver City Council that “IVs rarely save lives” when explaining why Denver Fire was not allowed to start IVs.

Former Denver firefighter Kevin Apuron said he feels residents need a better explanation regarding IVs.

“If I lived in Denver, I’m sure I would want to know,” he said. “I would like to know why – why weren’t they allowing this.”

In his memo, McVaney said the changes have yet to be implemented and staff are working on protocols.

“Denver Health continues to have discussions with our public safety partners as we all work to improve care for our community,” the memo reads.

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Denver Fire’s Linville also sent a memo to firefighters announcing the policy change shortly after McVaney’s memo was released.

“The Denver Fire Department is pleased to announce its intention to increase and improve the emergency medical care provided by Denver firefighters and paramedics by training our members to become IV certified,” it reads. in the footnote.

Denver Health declined interview requests regarding the policy change with a spokesperson, commenting that there is a “lack of confidence that our interview would be fair and objective.”

Denver7 has spent about a year reporting on issues surrounding the culture and performance of Denver Health’s Paramedic Division.

A statement from the spokesperson read, “Denver Health is working with our Denver Emergency Medical Response System (EMRS) partners to enhance Basic Life Support (BLS) services that Denver Fire can use to serve our community. Changes include IVs and life support skills for critical patients. Providing the best emergency care and response to Denver residents will always be a top priority.

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