When the worst happens, the quickest way for a patient to receive care at a nearby healthcare facility may be a swift ride from a rotary wing air ambulance – a medical chopper. According to a new air medical study article published by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the safest way for a patient to travel by helicopter is with a well-trained acute care flight nurse with experience working in the noisy, extreme environment of a medical helicopter.
Yet despite the fact that acute care flight nurses routinely care for some of the most seriously ill patients, in some of the most difficult care environments, there has yet to be a clear national consensus on the minimum training required for flight nurses just starting out.
Flight attendants are well trained to respond to emergency landings and evacuations. Yet, most flight attendants will never experience an emergency landing or evacuation for their entire career. On the other hand, in-flight medical emergencies are a much more common occurrence.Dr. Melissa L.P. Mattison and Dr. Mark Zeidel of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston published an article this month in the online Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting a series of across-the-board improvements to ensure airline passengers receive the best level of care in the unfortunate but inevitable event of an unexpected medical emergency in the air.
The doctors pointed out that in recent years, healthcare has improved by focused increasingly on standardization of processes of care. Interestingly, some major concepts in this movement originated in the airline industry. This standardization has improved aviation safety so much that there were no fatalities on U.S. domestic flights last year.
Happy New Year, everyone! This story about a study last year is quickly making the rounds. Findings from the University of Rochester School of Medicine now show that trauma patients transported by helicopter ambulance are more likely to survive and be discharged home after treatment than patients transported by ground – despite typically being more seriously injured, in transport for a longer duration, and requiring more hospital resources than the average trauma patient transported by normal ambulance.
The six-page study, titled “Helicopters and the Civilian Trauma System: National Utilization Patterns Demonstrate Improved Outcomes After Traumatic Injury,” opened with the idea that the role helicopters should play in civilian trauma care is still controversial. The objective was to compare the outcomes of patients after being transported from the scene of injury by helicopter and ground ambulance respectively.
With the year 2011 almost here, it’s no surprise that many of the old spiral-bound pocketbooks — the ones medics have traditionally carried for years — now have mobile digital versions. But can these new digital guides replace their tried-and-true analog counterparts? This week, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of new medical field guides on the iPhone for EMS providers.
Just like the pocket reference books, the information in these apps is presented in short, pointed style, meant to cue an EMS provider into their training. Being digital, these apps also have quick keyword search capability — something you won’t find on a spiral-bound guide — and a bookmarking feature. You can even take notes down on pages just as you would with a paper guide.
The ICEDOT (which stands for “In Case of Emergency Dot”) is a very low-tech red plastic “chip” that can be attached to clothing. These tiny red discs allow authorized medical personnel access to a computerized system through which they can view a patient’s current health “profile.” All that is needed is the patient’s unique eight-digit serial number.
The chip is a new advance in the “Invisible Bracelet” system, a higher-tech incarnation of the medical bracelets and ID cards people have carried in the past. These are usually hand-written or stamped permanently, so the information contained on them is often highly outdated. Users of the ICEDOT system can register online and create a publically viewable profile of up to 160 characters — that’s just 20 characters longer than a Twitter “tweet.”