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To study hospital disaster operations following a major United States disaster.
Researchers interviewed all 51 hospital administrators and 49 of 51 emergency department (ED) charge nurses and emergency physicians who were on duty at the study hospitals during the 13-hour period immediately following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
The 51 acute-care hospitals in the six northern California counties most affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Questionnaires and inperson interviews.
The most frequently noted problem was lack of communications within and among organizations. Hospitals received inadequate information about the disaster from local governmental agencies. Forty-three percent of hospitals had inadequate back-up power configurations, and five hospitals sustained total back-up generator failures. Twenty hospitals performed partial evacuations.
The Loma Prieta earthquake did not cause total disruption of hospital services. Hospitals need to work with local governmental agencies and internal hospital departments to improve disaster communications.
Chemical accidents occur often across the United States, endangering the health and safety of many people. The Super fund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) requires that communities increase their planning for medical response to these accidents. So far, little evidence has come forth that supports the notion that environmental legislation, such as SARA, improves preparedness for such accidents.
A one-group pretest/post-test longitudinal design was used to survey the medical directors of emergency departments in all acute care hospitals in the State of New York. Data were collected by mail survey and telephone follow-up in 1986 before the passage of SARA (Timel), and in 1989 after its implementation (Time2).
Ninety-four percent of the directors responded at Timel and 72% at Time2. In New York State, hospital preparedness for chemical accidents improved significantly during the study interval. The longer a hospital had a plan for response to chemical accidents, the more elements of preparedness were in place. Further, as a group, the hospitals that were the least prepared were located in the areas at highest risk.
Environmental legislation can influence the manner by which health care organizations prepare for environmental emergencies.
Recent studies have documented decreased time to emergency department (ED) thrombolytic therapy with the use of prehospital electrocardiography.
Is the time to ED diagnosis and treatment of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients with thrombolytic agents decreased by emergency medical services (EMS) transport when compared with those transported by other means (non-EMS)?
Retrospective, case-control study
The AMI patients treated with thrombolytic agents at a 34,000-visit, community hospital ED during 1992.
Review of records of patients who received thrombolytic therapy for AMI. Statistical analysis was performed using “Student's” t-test and Yates corrected Chi-square (X2).
Eighty-seven patients received thrombolytic agents for AMI during 1992; 33 arrived by ambulance, 54 arrived by other methods. There were no differences in age, gender, or time of ED arrival among these groups. Ambulance patients received standard advanced life support (ALS) care, but not a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) or thrombolytic agents. Ambulance patients experienced a significantly shorter time to first ECG (12.9 ±9.1 min. versus 20.8 ±25.3 win.; p = .028) and received thrombolytic therapy sooner than did controls (56.0 ±31.5 min. versus 78.0 ±63.4 min.; p = .018). There was no difference in time from diagnosis to treatment between these groups.
Emergency medical services transport of AMI patients in this study decreased time to diagnosis and treatment and may be a confounder in studies that assess the value of field EMS interventions. Non-EMS AMI patients did not receive as rapid diagnosis and treatment, and emergency physicians should evaluate and address this issue in their departments.
To evaluate the effectiveness of interactive videodisc (IVD) instruction of paramedics through the use of computer analysis of trip sheets.
Prospective, controlled, in an urban 9-1-1, paramedic, emergency medical services (EMS) system with total call volume of 62,000/year; 15,000 advanced life support (ALS).
All 150 paramedics in the system received eight hours of IVD instruction covering five subject areas: 1) airway; 2) head/cervical trauma; 3) chest; 4) shock; and 5) cardiac arrest. Trip sheets from 9,943 runs in the pre-IVD period were subjected to computer analysis, and a compliance score was generated using previously developed algorithms that assigned a weight to each omission and commission. After a nine-month IVD training period, 4,303 cases were collected and analyzed in the post-IVD period. Statistical analyses were made using “Student's“ t-test and Chi-square with alpha set at 0.05.
Only those records of adult patients who fit one of the five protocols were eligible for computer analysis. Of the 9,943 cases in the pre-IVD group, 480 (4.8%) were excluded, all due to inadequate data recording by the paramedics. A statistically similar portion, 233 (5.4%) of the 4,303 post-IVD instruction cases were excluded (p = .15).
Overall the mean compliance score of the pre-IVD group was 0.65 ±0.19 (±SD). The post-IVD group score was 0.65 ±0.19 (p = 0.99). Analysis of scores for each algorithm also showed no significant differences. This study had an observed power of .94 to detect a difference in compliance as small as 0.030.
Eight hours of IVD instruction did not result in improved paramedic performance as judged by computer analysis of trip sheets.
1) There is no increase in transport or scene time of diverted patients and no increase in distances traveled; 2) hospital resource shortages bear no relationship to the number of patients diverted; and 3) paramedics are able to match their patient correctly with the resources available at a given hospital.
This was a five-month, prospective, observational study in an urban area with a population of 600,000 comparing all 9-1-1 ambulance diversions against a randomly selected sample of 5% of all other 9-1-1 originated patients. All patient diversions that originated from the 9-1-1 center are included in the study.
Hospitals identify their diversion status on a community-wide computer system monitored at the 9-1-1 center and base station. Accepted categories include: 1) diversion of all patients through the 9-1-1 center from the emergency department (ED); 2) trauma system patients (T); 3) psychiatric secure beds (PSB); 4) general acute ward beds (AW); 5) critical care (CC); 6) computed tomography scan (CT); 7) labor and delivery (LD); and 8) pediatric beds (PEDS). Data were abstracted from 481 patients' records. A total of 111 were diverted from their intended destination. Transport times were longer and diverted patients traveled further (p <.002). Hospitals showing ED and LD diversion categories were more likely to have patients diverted away (r2 = .895, multilinear regression, p <.001). Of the 111 patients, 21 (19%) were diverted because of CC unavailability. Six of these (28%) were inappropriate because they did not fit the CC definition.
In this system, hospital diversions increase transport times and distances traveled. Diversion of patients correlated strongly to unavailability of specific categories. Paramedics make errors in determining appropriate CC diversions. Systems reviewing their diversion problems need to assess the impact of longer out-of-hospital times and of certain diversion categories, and to clarify definitions.
The controversy surrounding the use of advanced life support (ALS) for the prehospital management of trauma pivots on the fact that these procedures could cause significant and life-threatening delays to definitive in-hospital care.
In Montreal, Québec, on-site ALS to injured patients is provided by physicians only. The purpose of this study was to identify parameters associated with the duration of scene time for patients with moderate to severe injuries treated by physicians at the scene.
The use of on-site ALS by physicians is associated with a significant increase in scene time.
A total of 576 patients with moderate to severe injuries are included in the analysis. This group was part of a larger cohort used in the prospective evaluation of trauma care in Montreal. Descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, multiple linear regression, and multiple logistic regression techniques were use to analyze the data.
Use of ALS in general was associated with a statistically significant increase in the mean scene time of 6.5 min. (p = .0001). Significant increases in mean scene time were observed for initiation of an intravenous route (mean = 6.6 min., p = .0001), medication administration (mean =5.7 min., p = .0001), and pneumatic antishock garment (PASG) application (mean = 9.3 min., p = .03). Similar differences were observed for total prehospital time. A significant increase in the relative odds for having long scene times (>20 min.) also was associated with the use of ALS. This level of scene time was associated with a significant increase in the odds of dying (OR = 2.6, p = .009).
This study shows that physician-provided, on-site ALS causes significant increase in scene time and total prehospital time. These delays are associated with an increase in the risk for death in patients with an severe injuries.
1) To determine if paramedics could select appropriate patients for use of the saline lock; 2) to evaluate saline-lock patency upon arrival at the emergency department (ED); and 3) to define any cost-savings associated with the use of the saline lock.
Patients in the prehospital setting who required intravenous (IV) access, but did not require fluid resuscitation. Patients with hypotension or multiple traumatic injuries were excluded.
Paramedics were given the option for the use of either the saline lock or a routine IV set-up. Initially, the reservoir was flushed with 1 ml 0.9 N saline solution and the flush was repeated only if medications subsequently were completed for each patient. Information collected included: 1) demographics; 2) reason for selection; 3) need for fluid infusion; 4) conversion of the lock to a routine IV set-up; and 5) administration of medications through the lock. Failures included inability to flush after arrival to the ED, or local infiltration detected on flush while in the ED. Costs associated with the use of the saline locks were compared with those associated with the use of traditional IV set-ups. Cost-savings were calculated as the cost of a traditional IV set-up minus costs of the lock set-up.
A total of 58 male and 42 female patients was enrolled. All patients were assigned appropriately. The most commonly used indications included chest pain, possible stroke, and shortness of breath. Two locks were occluded, and two had infiltrated when flushed following arrival of the patient to the ED. Five patients had IV fluid bads initiated through the locks. Cumulative cost-saving were [U.S.]$130 to the hospitals and $1,710 to the patients or their carriers. Most paramedics were pleased with the performance and utility of the locks.
The use of saline locks is an alternative to the use of traditional IVs in certain patients in the prehospital setting.
Comparisons of different emergency medical services (EMS) systems often are reduced to simple comparisons between distinct facilities or strategies (e.g., prehospital physician versus paramedic, “scoop and run” versus “stay and play”).
The EMS systems of similar cities (Cologne and Cleveland) in two different countries (Germany and the United States) are compared. The comparison is seen from the perspective of an evolutionary standpoint that reflects the development of the EMS system in connection with the special environments. Data on rescue times, facilities, and (trauma) outcomes are compared.
No statistically significant differences in outcome between the systems were detected.
Both systems are developed in special environments and are optimized over decades, which explains the similarities in outcome.