Equipment & Gear, News, Patient Care, Training

Last Word: The Ups and Downs of EMS

Issue 11 and Volume 35.

Some airlines look for flight attendants with upbeat personalities or pretty smiles. New York-based jetBlue has all that and more. Since its launch 10 years ago, the airline has hired several hundred police officers, EMTs and firefighters, many of them retirees. With some 10% of its total cabin crew workforce trained in emergency response, jetBlue is building a safety-conscious flight staff.

Out-of-this-World Care
What happens when an astronaut has a potentially serious accident in space?

Thanks to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), engineers are developing a system that aims to help astronauts be more efficient when providing medical care in moments when a quick return to Earth isn’t possible.

This will be even more important now that the U.S. has terminated its Space Shuttle program and will have to rely on other countries for a ride back to Earth if an emergency occurs.
Although the system is being created primarily for space, it will also be functional in other down-to-earth locations, such as the emergency department or a scene.

According to John Crossin, NSBRI smart medical systems and technology team member, the project combines two existing technologies—iRevive medical record software and the Lightweight Trauma Module (LTM) monitoring and therapeutic system. “[The system] will collect, monitor and fuse patient care information … to optimize remote medical diagnosis, ventilator support, IV fluid therapy and treatment options,” Crossin said in a prepared statement.

The user-friendly system, which requires little medical training, will guide caregivers through the observational recording process. Clinical trials are set to launch in early 2011.

We congratulate the NSBRI for innovatively combining technologies to make patient care for astronauts truly out of
this world.

Stoking up Controversy
After American Medical Response (AMR) providers in Jackson, Miss., waited for police to secure a late-night scene before attending to a shooting victim, Councilman Kenneth Stokes lambasted the company for staging in a safe area until police reported the scene was secure as a precaution to keep its EMTs and paramedics safe.

“You got to take the risk. You can’t let citizens die or sit here wounded because you’re saying, ‘I’m not safe,’” he said at a news conference.

Newspaper accounts also quoted Stokes as saying he was prepared to advise the city council to cancel AMR’s contract and find a company that would take the “risk”—or maybe have the fire department take it over.

We have just a few problems with that idea: Waiting for law enforcement to secure a scene is the norm among EMS agencies and fire departments. Stokes is going to have a hard time finding any EMS agency willing to take the risk. Also, the ambulance contract is with Hinds County, not the city of Jackson.

Although Stokes gets some credit for responding to constituents’ concerns, he needs to check his facts before calling news conferences.

We give him a thumbs down for expecting responders to risk becoming one of their own patients by entering an unsafe scene.

If Stokes continues to feel that “you have to take risks,” he may want to buy a Superman outfit and swoop into shooting scenes himself.

EMS Display Scores A Touchdown
It’s not every day EMS providers receive special recognition for their hard work and service. But, an effort sponsored by Bellin Health and the Green Bay Packers is changing that.
The “Make the Right Call” campaign, which encouraged people to call 9-1-1 for medical emergencies, featured a visual display chronicling eight stories of outstanding EMS care in the northern Wisconsin area. EMS providers, hospital staff and community members selected the featured stories, which involved 39 providers.

“Each [story] was inspiring in the way [it] detailed the outstanding efforts of EMS,” Andrea Werner, vice president of the Heart and Vascular Center at Bellin Health, said in a prepared statement.

The exhibit kicked off with a special ceremony during the Sept. 19 Packers game against the Buffalo Bills and was featured in the Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay from Sept. 17 through Oct. 22.

We applaud Bellin Health and the Green Bay Packers for their effort to educate the public about the importance of calling 9-1-1 and for highlighting the life-changing actions of prehospital providers. JEMS

This article originally appeared in November 2010 JEMS as “Last Word: The Ups and Downs of EMS.”