study finds that paramedics may be taking the wrong approach in certain situations

It’s not uncommon to be making your way home from work, school or errands and see the flashing lights of an ambulance in your rearview mirror. While we rely on these paramedics as the first line of defense in the event of a serious accident or medical emergency, a recent study suggests that one of their traditional tactics could actually be jeopardizing the welfare of patients.

A recently published study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine indicates that paramedics might better serve patients by utilizing the “scoop and go” approach as opposed to “stay and stabilize” when it comes to treating those with penetrating trauma injuries (gunshot wounds, stab wounds, etc.).

In other words, patients facing this type of medical trauma could be better off being transported to the trauma center sooner rather than later.

“If the paramedics stay on the scene longer than 20 minutes, you’ll start to see an increase in mortality,” said Dr. C. Eric McCoy, the study’s primary author.

McCoy also indicated that it doesn’t matter how far an ambulance has to travel to a trauma center, or how long it takes it to arrive there. All that matters is getting victims of penetrating trauma injuries away from the accident scene as soon as possible.

He and his fellow researchers arrived at this conclusion after monitoring 19,167 trauma patients who received treatment at the University of California Irvine Medical Center over a 14-year period.

McCoy stressed that subject requires more in-depth study, underscoring that the results of the study only applies to patients with penetrating trauma injuries — 16 percent of the patients studied — and not to those who suffered blunt-force trauma injuries (car accidents, falls from heights, etc.). Furthermore, he indicated that his results may only apply to hospitals located in large urban settings and that the results might be entirely different in rural settings.

While this study may indeed be limited in scope, it still highlights that paramedics must provide the proper urgent care at the outset of any medical emergency, and should be held accountable for any medical mistakes they make that result in serious injury or even death.

Consider consulting with an experienced legal professional if you or a loved one has been victimized by any type of medical negligence.

Source: Health Leaders Media, “Delay in transporting some trauma patients linked to in-hospital mortality,” Cheryl Clark, Nov. 15, 2012

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