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Life-Saving Modern Technology Offers New Tool to Battle Cholera in Haiti
December 20, 2010

Photo caption: Dr. Larry Miller (foreground), founder of Vidacare, boards the plane for Haiti to deliver over $100,000 of donated intraosseous infusion equipment to treat severely dehydrated cholera patients. (Photo courtesy of Vidacare)

Click here for Dr. Miller's post-trip report

[San Antonio, Texas] In the early 1980s in India, an American pediatrician witnessed clinicians using intraosseous (inside the bone, also called IO) access to infuse fluids and drugs into the victims of a devastating cholera outbreak, and his subsequent advocacy of IO infusion brought the practice into the mainstream for pediatric patients. However, IO was considered too difficult for most adult patients until the mid-2000's, when Vidacare Corporation pioneered the EZ-IO Intraosseous Infusion System, now widely considered the leading technology to establish IO for all patients in need of intraosseous access.

Today, with a cholera outbreak in Haiti that the Pan American Health Organization predicts could infect close to 650,000 people in the next year, intraosseous infusion's role in treating cholera patients - whose veins are typically collapsed from severe dehydration - has come full circle.

In response to desperate pleas from clinicians on the ground in Haiti, Vidacare Corporation is on a mission to deliver over $100,000 worth of IO equipment and train medical personnel on how to establish intraosseous access in patients suffering the effects of cholera. Dr. Larry Miller, Vidacare's founder, Chief Medical Officer and the technology's innovator, departed from San Antonio, Texas on Tuesday, December 14 to deliver the supplies and intends to visit the major cholera treatment centers in Haiti over the next two weeks.

Cholera, a bacterial infection of the small intestine that causes extreme vomiting and diarrhea, can result in severe dehydration in many patients, collapsing their veins. IO is an essential treatment for severely dehydrated patients, because vascular access through the IO space is one of the only ways to infuse life-saving liquids and drugs in these patients.

Vidacare is working with Project Hope and the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), both in Haiti, to distribute the supplies to many of twenty major treatment centers throughout Haiti and train clinicians on how to use IO to infuse fluids and drugs. Project HOPE will help coordinate Dr. Miller's in-country logistics, while the MAF will assist Dr. Miller and his team in reaching the cholera treatment outposts throughout rural Haiti that are in desperate need of tools to treat patients. In addition to donating over $100,000 worth of supplies, Vidacare is establishing a fund in collaboration with Project Hope to support the ongoing purchase of discounted intraosseous needles for Haitian clinicians once the initial gift is depleted.

Said Mark Mellin, Acting CEO and President of Vidacare, "This is the right thing to do. We have the tools that can save lives, and it's our corporate duty and our mission to help."

Dr. Larry Miller commented, "This is a huge commitment for Vidacare, and I am proud to be working for such a great company that puts human needs and lives before profits and sales."

Vidacare's EZ-IO® Intraosseous Infusion System, the market leader in IO technology, is used by 90 percent of US advanced life support ambulances and over half of US Emergency Departments, as well as the US Military.

Established in 2001, Vidacare Corporation is the developer of a broad technology platform that is defining the field of intraosseous (inside the bone) medicine. Current products include the EZ-IO® Intraosseous Infusion System, the OnControlTM Bone Marrow System and the OnControlTM Bone Access System, and applications include vascular access, emergency and disaster medicine, oncology and spinal surgery. Vidacare's focus on enhancing clinical efficacy, patient safety and comfort, and reducing complications and their associated costs, has resulted in its devices becoming the recognized technology standard. Privately held, the company is based in San Antonio, Texas, and its products are marketed in over 50 countries worldwide.



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