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This study aimed to document the growth and challenges encountered in the decade since inception of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) in Ghana, West Africa. By doing so, potentially instructive examples for other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) planning a formal prehospital care system or attempting to identify ways to improve existing emergency services could be identified.
Data routinely collected by the Ghana NAS from 2004-2014 were described, including: patient demographics, reason for the call, response location, target destination, and ti1mes of service. Additionally, the organizational structure and challenges encountered during the development and maturation of the NAS were reported.
In 2004, the NAS piloted operations with 69 newly trained emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nine ambulances, and seven stations. The NAS expanded service delivery with 199 ambulances at 128 stations operated by 1,651 EMTs and 47 administrative and maintenance staff in 2014. In 2004, nine percent of the country was covered by NAS services; in 2014, 81% of Ghana was covered. Health care transfers and roadside responses comprised the majority of services (43%-80% and 10%-57% by year, respectively). Increased mean response time, stable case holding time, and shorter vehicle engaged time reflect greater response ranges due to increased service uptake and improved efficiency of ambulance usage. Specific internal and external challenges with regard to NAS operations also were described.
The steady growth of the NAS is evidence of the need for Emergency Medical Services and the effects of sound planning and timely responses to changes in program indicators. The way forward includes further capacity building to increase the number of scene responses, strengthening ties with local health facilities to ensure timely emergency medical care and appropriateness of transfers, assuring a more stable funding stream, and improving public awareness of NAS services.
ZakariahA, StewartBT, BoatengE, AchenaC, TansleyG, MockC. The Birth and Growth of the National Ambulance Service in Ghana. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(1):83–93.
Restraint misuse is a common problem leading to increased morbidity and mortality for children involved in motor vehicle crashes. The purpose of this project was to describe the injury patterns associated with restraint misuse in the pediatric population, with particular focus on clues to significant injury that can be identified by the prehospital provider that may impact subsequent triage decisions.
This is a case series presentation that illustrates the injury patterns associated with various types of restraint misuse in infants (ages 0–1 years), toddlers (age 1–4 years), young children (ages 4–8 years), and pre-teens (ages 8–14 years). Cases were identified from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) database.
Six cases are presented that illustrate the injury patterns associated with misuse of rear-facing infant car seats (0–1 years), forward-facing child seats (1–4 years), booster seats (4–8 years), and shoulder belts (8–14 years). Prehospital assessment of appropriate restraint use is described.
Restraint misuse in children is a common problem. Emergency medical services providers need to be aware of these issues when assessing children and determining appropriate triage to a trauma center. Ongoing educational efforts also are vital to inform parents regarding the risks of inappropriate restraint use and can encourage legislators to better define appropriate restraint use for older children.
This chapter explores the uses of case series data for the assessment of clinical care, as well as understanding the etiology of injuries. An extension of the case series is the trauma registry. The main difficulties with analysis of case series data, in general, and with trauma registry data in particular, are in attempting to make generalizations about all injury victims and about injury risk factors from patients admitted to one hospital. When attempting to obtain data on the full spectrum of injuries occurring in a given community or area, supplemental data on minor injuries will be needed. Trauma registries are an extension of case series and offer many advantages to both clinical care and the study of injury mechanisms. However, for both case series and trauma registry studies, considerable caution must be exercised in attempting to make inferences about injury risk factors and about injury characteristics of the population.
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