Starting off the news this week is a look at an alarming story of an ambulance crash that caused multiple injuries in the back of the ambulance. This is all too commonplace and there are mixed reports coming in on causes and why the crew was injured. There are unconfirmed reports that the crew in the back were not buckled in their seats because they might have been performing active CPR en route to the hospital! (This article has been updated)
EMS Safety In Transport in Question
The patient in cardiac arrest died. Of course they did, if CPR was in progress it stopped the minute the unit crashed. The three crew members in the back were all injured although the story has no information on the outcome of those injuries.
We hear about ambulance crashes all the time and I’ve talked about them in the past here on the MedicCast. This one really has my blood boiling. If they were transporting with CPR in progress then I have an important question: Why are EMS crews transporting a patient with CPR in progress in this day and age? The standard of care right now is to perform CPR only when the ambulance is safely parked and not moving.
The safety of rescuers is paramount in this situation and the effectiveness of the CPR in a moving vehicle is crappy at best! Any system that has crews transporting with CPR in progress needs a major overhaul of their EMS protocols and system procedures and standard operating guidelines.
I read articles like this and I’m thankful that in my system the practice is to stop and pull over immediately before starting CPR in the back, calling for additional manpower if needed. Better yet, get a mechanical CPR device if you insist on transporting a patient in Cardiac Arrest like the LUCAS from Physio-Control. Maybe the injuries in this case would have been lessened or even eliminated.
Come on people, let’s start practicing emergency medical care in the twenty-first century!
Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Opiate Addiction, Community Narcan and Episode 423.