There is no doubt that you will find article upon article on why the need exists to carry a dependable flashlight; one that you will actually carry and not leave at home. But this isn’t one of those.
I’m one of those guys that always has a flashlight on me. No matter what light I pick out to carry for the day, I can say that I have had the Surefire Sidekick with me at ALL times since I purchased it on Black Friday last year (2017). It sits on my keychain waiting to be used. I can go days without employing this great little light, but when I need, it is within arms reach. All too often though, when I use my Surefire Sidekick, I don’t give a second thought about how it was used.
The idea to share what is becoming one of my favorite ways to use the Surefire Sidekick came to me the other day when I was working my second job. I’m a glorified paramedic that starts IV’s for CT and MRI contrast studies. One thing that you should understand, is that when patients come in for these studies and need an IV, it is WAY different than what would be considered “acceptable” while working on the rescue at the FD. When you get a patient that is a “hard stick”, there is no bone drilling that you can do, no external jugulars… So, I do what any other fireman would do; get creative.
I don’t have the money to go out and get me one of those neat “vein finders” that have hit the market in recent years. But I’ve found that turning out the light in the room, placing the Surefire Sidekick on the patients arm at the highest setting (300 lumens), will make their veins stand out. Kind of like when you were a kid and shone the flashlight on the palm of your had to illuminate everything that’s in your hand (who am I kidding, you do this every time you get a new light). I move the light around, up and down their arm until I find what I think is a suitable vein. I’ve started the IV in both the dark or with the lights on, but I find it easier to do in the dark, as weird as that sounds. Make sure you are cleaning both the light and the IV site with alcohol prior to starting the IV. It helps to have another set of hands there to turn the light on when you get it started, but it is not necessary.
Just the other day, I had a patient that was to have a coronary study done. On this particular study, there needs to be a large bore IV so the contrast can flow at a very fast rate without blowing the vein. She had a right shoulder replacement the week before, and a history of left breast cancer (no IV’s on the left side due to issues with her lymph nodes). She was overweight (making it harder to find her veins), and the poor lady could only use her right arm for IV’s. She had told me that the hospital usually has to have a “specialist” come in and start an IV in her neck. Out came the Surefire Sidekick, and we went to work. Within seconds, the IV was started and the patient was amazed. In fact, the IV was so good, that the technologist only used a fraction of the contrast normally used in the study. In the end, the patient was happy, and I felt like a superstar.
Hope you enjoyed one of my experiences and uses for this magnificent light. If you have one, share yours.
**Make sure to use caution when holding the light on the patient’s skin for too long. This light is very bright and the lens can get hot. If you’re searching for awhile, give the light a second to cool off a bit, and go to work. Remember, “Do Know Harm, Do No Harm”.
Author – Tony Kuhn