Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Calling an ambulance is a crapshoot

Laura Landro, WSJ, Feb 14, 2012, cites a new report from the National Assn of EMS Officials that shows a wide variation in how emergency services are defined from state to state.

EMS budgets have also been hard-hit.

Patient safety is an issue.

Survival rates from cardiac arrest—low for years—often is in the single digits.

Seattle’s is 50%, though—but the city provides a 3-day course in just resuscitating. This is rare.

The key to saving people is instructing ordinary people to do chest compressions only and forget the mouth-to-mouth. Better instructions over the phone will help, too.

Communication between EMS people and hospitals could also be improved. This is when an angioplasty is needed to open an artery that’s blocked—calling the hospital to have people standing by cuts "door-to-balloon” time.

OK—people—get on it. Chop chop.

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