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Pennsylvania Sleigh Ride, Talking about Heroin, and Trauma Kits for LAPD

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Pennsylvania Sleigh Ride
On Feb. 15, in Lancaster, Penn., EMT Richard Canard, paramedic Linnea Stewart and volunteer Brian Weininger were traveling in an ambulance up the icy incline of S. Duke Street. They caught sight of a man in a motorized wheelchair with a dog on his lap, unable to get his wheelchair to move, and unable to get home.

The EMS providers went to work. They blocked traffic, rigged a harness to the man’s wheelchair and pulled him a block and a half to his apartment, according to Lancaster EMS Executive Director C. Robert May. They returned with the patient to the apartment and stayed with him until they got his chair working again.

Canard, the volunteer coordinator of Lancaster EMS and a community paramedicine advocate, says he plans to check in on the patent in the coming weeks.

We give thumbs up to these three and to all other providers who went above and beyond the call of duty to help those affected by the challenging weather this past winter.

Talking about Heroin
The first month of 2014 saw the death of one of America’s most revered actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died from a toxic mix of heroin and other drugs, according to the the New York City medical examiner.

Hoffman is one of an increasing number of Americans whose lives have been shattered by heroin and similar opiates. Between 2007 and 2011, ED visits across the nation involving heroin have increased about 27% and continue to rise, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In Vermont, a 770% increase in the treatment of all opiates since 2000 and other shocking heroin-related statistics prompted Governor Peter Shumlin to use his entire State of the State speech on Jan. 8 to raise awareness and encourage debate about the drug’s presence and effect, and to encourage citizens to see this trend for the crisis it is.

We applaud Governor Shumlin for taking bold steps toward reversing the disturbing upward trend of heroin use in his state in particular and the U.S. in general.

Combat-style Care & Safety
Police officers can’t allow EMS providers to enter a scene that isn’t secure, but this red tape can cause vital second to go by, when patients could be receiving life-saving care.

Take for example a security screener fatally shot in last year’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, who went 33 minutes without medical attention because paramedics weren’t allowed to enter the scene, according to the Associated Press.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has recognized this predicament and subsequently equipped and trained all officers with combat-style trauma kits to provide basic care to help save lives in unsecured crime scenes while ensuring the safety of EMS providers.

We give a thumbs up to the LAPD for this innovative and life-saving solution.

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