Through the years, I have sat through countless ceremonies honoring those who have saved lives while performing EMS. Usually, the ceremonies center on those who have suffered cardiac arrest and were brought back from the brink of death, and then go on to lead a normal life. What is really...
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In a study done in Medford, OR, protocols were created to direct all STEMI patients to a single PCI hospital. In total, 233 patients were brought in by EMS or walked into the hospital. Researchers looked at PCI reperfusion and in-hospital mortality. Overall hospital mortality was 2.1% with these 233 patients and zero among those patients brought in by paramedics.
A 2004 study in Dijon, France, was done to determine "the impact of an emergency medical services call on the management of acute myocardial infarction, considering time intervals for intervention and revascularization procedures." This study showed that the majority of the population underutilized EMS when they had symptoms of myocardial infarction. At the same time, the study showed the benefits to those using EMS in reducing hospital delays and obtaining revascularization much faster.
Countless studies leave little doubt that EMS and paramedics add tremendous benefit to the community. For those who see no advantages to our current EMS systems, I say, sit through a live-saving ceremony. Maybe like the mayor of St. Louis, you'll see some high school kid who was dead go on to graduate with his class.
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He has 32 years of fire-rescue service experience. Ludwig is chairman of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has a master's degree in business and management, and is a licensed paramedic. He is a frequent speaker at EMS and fire conferences nationally and internationally, and can be reached through his website at www.garyludwig.com.