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In the context of an on-going global pandemic that has demanded increasingly more of our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) clinicians, the health humanities can function to aid in educational training, promoting resilience and wellness, and allowing opportunity for self-expression to help prevent vicarious trauma.
As the social, cultural, and political landscape of the United States continues to require an expanded scope of practice from our EMS clinicians, it is critical that the health humanities are implemented as not only part of EMS training, but also as part of continued practice in order to ensure the highest quality patient-centered care while protecting the longevity and resilience of EMS clinicians.
Ambulance patients who are unable to be quickly transferred to an emergency department (ED) bed represent a key contributing factor to ambulance offload delay (AOD). Emergency department crowding and associated AOD are exacerbated by multiple factors, including infectious disease outbreaks such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Initiatives to address AOD present an opportunity to streamline ambulance offload procedures while improving patient outcomes.
The goal of this study was to evaluate the initial outcomes and impact of a novel Emergency Medical Service (EMS)-based Hospital Liaison Program (HLP) on ambulance offload times (AOTs).
Ambulance offload times associated with EMS patients transported to a community hospital six months before and after HLP implementation were retrospectively analyzed using proportional significance tests, t-tests, and multiple regression analysis.
A proportional increase in incidents in the zero to <30 minutes time category after program implementation (+2.96%; P <.01) and a commensurate decrease in the proportion of incidents in the 30 to <60 minutes category (−2.65%; P <.01) were seen. The fully adjusted regression model showed AOT was 16.31% lower (P <.001) after HLP program implementation, holding all other variables constant.
The HLP is an innovative initiative that constitutes a novel pathway for EMS and hospital systems to synergistically enhance ambulance offload procedures. The greatest effect was demonstrated in patients exhibiting potentially life-threatening symptoms, with a reduction of approximately three minutes. While small, this outcome was a statistically significant decrease from the pre-intervention period. Ultimately, the HLP represents an additional strategy to complement existing approaches to mitigate AOD.
In the early phase of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, United States Emergency Medical Services (EMS) experienced a decrease in calls, and at the same time, an increase in out-of-hospital deaths. This finding led to a concern for the implications of potential delays in care for the obstetric population.
This study examines the impact of the pandemic on prehospital care amongst pregnant women.
A retrospective observational study was conducted comparing obstetric-related EMS activations in Maryland (USA) during the pandemic (March 10-July 20, 2020) to a pre-pandemic period (March 10-July 20, 2019). Comparative analysis was used to analyze the difference in frequency and acuity of calls between the two periods.
There were fewer obstetric-related EMS encounters during the pandemic compared to the year prior (daily average during the pandemic 12.5 [SD = 3.8] versus 14.6 [SD = 4.1] pre-pandemic; P <.001), although the percent of total female encounters remained unchanged (1.6% in 2020 versus 1.5% in 2019; P = .091). Key indicators of maternal status were not significantly different between the two periods. African-American women represented a disproportionately high percentage of obstetric-related activations (36.2% in 2019 and 34.8% in 2020).
In this state-wide analysis of EMS calls in Maryland early in the pandemic, no significant differences existed in the utilization of EMS by pregnant women. Prehospital EMS activations amongst pregnant women in Maryland only decreased slightly without an increase in acuity. Of note, over-representation by African-American women compared to population statistics raises concern for broader systemic differences in access to obstetric care.
Influenza vaccination remains the most effective primary prevention strategy for seasonal influenza. This research explores the percentage of emergency medical services (EMS) clinicians who received the seasonal flu vaccine in a given year, along with their reasons for vaccine acceptance and potential barriers.
A survey was distributed to all EMS clinicians in Virginia during the 2018-2019 influenza season. The primary outcome was vaccination status. Secondary outcomes were attitudes and perceptions toward influenza vaccination, along with patient care behaviors when treating an influenza patient.
Ultimately, 2796 EMS clinicians throughout Virginia completed the survey sufficiently for analysis. Participants were mean 43.5 y old, 60.7% male, and included the full range of certifications. Overall, 79.4% of surveyed EMS clinicians received a seasonal flu vaccine, 74% had previously had the flu, and 18% subjectively reported previous side effects from the flu vaccine. Overall, 54% of respondents believed their agency has influenza or respiratory specific plans or procedures.
In a large, state-wide survey of EMS clinicians, overall influenza vaccination coverage was 79.4%. Understanding the underlying beliefs of EMS clinicians remains a critical priority for protecting these frontline clinicians. Agencies should consider practical policies, such as on-duty vaccination, to increase uptake.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Electronic dance music (EDM) festivals represent a unique subset of mass-gathering events with limited guidance through literature or legislation to guide mass-gathering medical care at these events.
Electronic dance music festivals pose unique challenges with increased patient encounters and heightened patient acuity under-estimated by current validated casualty predication models.
This was a retrospective review of three separate EDM festivals with analysis of patient encounters and patient transport rates. Data obtained were inserted into the predictive Arbon and Hartman models to determine estimated patient presentation rate and patient transport rates.
The Arbon model under-predicted the number of patient encounters and the number of patient transports for all three festivals, while the Hartman model under-predicted the number of patient encounters at one festival and over-predicted the number of encounters at the other two festivals. The Hartman model over-predicted patient transport rates for two of the three festivals.
Electronic dance music festivals often involve distinct challenges and current predictive models are inaccurate for planning these events. The formation of a cohesive incident action plan will assist in addressing these challenges and lead to the collection of more uniform data metrics.
FitzGibbonKM, NableJV, AydB, LawnerBJ, ComerAC, LichensteinR, LevyMJ, SeamanKG, BusseyI. Mass-Gathering Medical Care in Electronic Dance Music Festivals. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(5):563–567.
Prehospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers are expected to treat all patients the same, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion. Some EMS personnel who are poorly trained in working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients are at risk for managing such patients incompletely and possibly incorrectly. During emergency situations, such mistreatment has meant the difference between life and death.
An anonymous survey was electronically distributed to EMS educational program directors in Maryland (USA). The survey asked participants if their program included training cultural sensitivity, and if so, by what modalities. Specific questions then focused on information about LGBT education, as well as related topics, that they, as program directors, would want included in an online training module.
A total of 20 programs met inclusion criteria for the study, and 16 (80%) of these programs completed the survey. All but one program (15, 94%) included cultural sensitivity training. One-third (6, 38%) of the programs reported already teaching LGBT-related issues specifically. Three-quarters of the programs that responded (12, 75%) were willing to include LGBT-related material into their curriculum. All programs (16, 100%) identified specific aspects of LGBT-related emergency health issues they would be interested in having included in an educational module.
Most EMS educational program directors in Maryland are receptive to including LGBT-specific education into their curricula. The information gathered in this survey may help guide the development of a short, self-contained, open-access module for EMS educational programs. Further research, on a broader scale and with greater geographic sampling, is needed to assess the practices of EMS educators on a national level.
JalaliS, LevyMJ, TangN. Prehospital Emergency Care Training Practices Regarding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Patients in Maryland (USA). Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(2):1-4.
Injuries sustained by disaster responders can impede the affected individuals’ ability to perform critical functions and often require the redirection of already scarce resources. Soft-tissue injuries to the hand are commonly experienced by disaster workers and even seemingly mild lacerations can pose the potential for significant complications in such hazard-filled environments. In this report, the authors describe their experience utilizing tissue adhesive to create a functional and effective barrier dressing for a hand injury sustained by a responder at the West, Texas USA fertilizer plant explosion. This technique of wound management allowed the patient to continue performing essential onsite functions for a sustained period following the explosion and the subsequent investigative processes. At the 30-day follow-up, the wound was well healed and without complications. This technique proved to be a valuable method of field expedient wound management and is worthy of consideration in similar future circumstances.
LevyMJ, TangN. Use of Tissue Adhesive as a Field Expedient Barrier Dressing for Hand Wounds in Disaster Responders. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(1):1-3.
The initial assessment of critical patients includes prompt identification of life-threatening conditions. Any device or technique that can aid in this process may ultimately save lives. This study examined whether clothing could be removed faster with the use of a hooked cutting device as compared with the commonly-used heavy-duty, blunt-tipped, serrated scissors.
This study took place in an urban academic emergency department of a Level-1 trauma center. Human patient simulator mannequins were clothed in identical shirts and pants. The time required for clinical personnel to expose the patient using each device was measured. Each of the 50 participants was queried regarding their tactile comfort using each device.
The mean time for shirt removal using scissors was 83 seconds (SD = 55 seconds; 95% CI, 68-99). The mean time for shirt removal using the hook device was 28 seconds (SD = 21 seconds; 95% CI, 22-34). The mean time for pants removal using scissors was 69 seconds (SD = 40 seconds; 95% CI, 56-73). The mean time for pants removal using the hook device was 19 seconds (SD=15 seconds; 95% CI, 15-23).
The hooked device was 69% faster at removing clothing than traditionally-used scissors. Though simple in concept, these implications can be life saving, particularly in conditions of uncontrolled, life-threatening external hemorrhage.
TangN, LevyM, HarrowJ, BinghamN. Use of a Hooked Cutting Device Compared With Scissors for the Emergency Exposure of Critically Ill and Injured Patients. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(6):1-4.
Much attention has been given to the strategic placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation of strategically placed AEDs and the actual location of cardiac arrests.
A retrospective review of data maintained by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS), specifically, the Maryland Cardiac Arrest Database and the Maryland AED Registry, was conducted. Location types for AEDs were compared with the locations of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Howard County, Maryland. The respective locations were compared using scatter diagrams and r2 statistics.
The r2 statistics for AED location compared with witnessed cardiac arrest and total cardiac arrests were 0.054 and 0.051 respectively, indicating a weak relationship between the two variables in each case. No AEDs were registered in the three most frequently occurring locations for cardiac arrests (private homes, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities) and no cardiac arrests occurred at the locations where AEDs were most commonly placed (community pools, nongovernment public buildings, schools/educational facilities).
A poor association exists between the location of cardiac arrests and the location of AEDs.
LevyMJ, SeamanKG, MillinMG, BissellRA, JenkinsJL. A Poor Association Between Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Location and Public Automated External Defibrillator Placement. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-6.
An understanding of disaster medicine and the health care system during mass-casualty events is vital to a successful disaster response, and has been recommended as an integral part of the medical curriculum by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). It has been documented that medical students do not believe that they have received adequate training for responding to disasters. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the inclusion of disaster medicine in the required course work of medical students at AAMC schools in the United States, and to identify the content areas addressed.
An electronic on-line survey was developed based upon published core competencies for health care workers, and distributed via e-mail to the education liaison for each medical school in the United States that was accredited by the AAMC. The survey included questions regarding the inclusion of disaster medicine in the medical school curricula, the type of instruction, and the content of instruction.
Of the 29 (25.2%) medical schools that completed the survey, 31% incorporated disaster medicine into their medical school curricula. Of those schools that included disaster medicine in their curricula, 20.7% offered disaster material as required course work, and 17.2% offered it as elective course work. Disaster medicine topics provided at the highest frequency included pandemic influenza/severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, 27.5%), and principles of triage (10.3%). The disaster health competency included most frequently was the ability to recognize a potential critical event and implement actions at eight (27.5%) of the responding schools.
Only a small percentage of US medical schools currently include disaster medicine in their core curriculum, and even fewer medical schools have incorporated or adopted competency-based training within their disaster medicine lecture topics and curricula.
>SmithJ, LevyMJ, HsuEB, LevyJL. Disaster Curricula in Medical Education: Pilot Survey. Prehosp Disaster Med.2012;27(5):1-3.
The safety of personnel and resources is considered to be a cornerstone of prehospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operations and practice. However, barriers exist that limit the comprehensive reporting of EMS safety data. To overcome these barriers, many high risk industries utilize a technique called Human Factors Analysis (HFA) as a means of error reduction. The goal of this approach is to analyze processes for the purposes of making an environment safer for patients and providers. This report describes an application of this approach to safety incident analysis following a situation during which a paramedic ambulance crew was exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide.
Levy MJ, Seaman KG, Levy JL. A human factors analysis of an EMS crew's exposure to carbon monoxide. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-2.