Articles Posted in Emergency Medical Treatment

quadrocopter-1658967_1280-300x199We are now comfortable with the idea of drones delivering packages, capturing wedding photos, and providing other essential services conveniently, effectively and efficiently. In the future, we might also see drones offering emergency medical treatment to persons who have suffered a cardiac arrest.

When a person suffers a heart attack in the hospital, he has access to emergency medical treatment as the facility is fully equipped with defibrillators, monitors, medications and the other equipment necessary to minimize damage to the cardiac muscles, and place the person back on the road to a quick recovery. However, when a heart attack occurs outside the hospital, there is often no such access to defibrillators. Ambulances must race to deliver lifesaving equipment and personnel to the patient. Any delay results in an increased risk of death.

Swedish researchers believe that drones may be the answer. These doctors are investigating how drones can be used to deliver lifesaving care by providing emergency medical treatment to persons who have suffered a heart attack outside the hospital setting. According to the researchers, a drone that is carrying a defibrillator could arrive in advance of an ambulance. The difference in time could be as much as 16 minutes, which could mean the difference between life and death for the patient.

medical-563427_1280-300x200Thousands of Americans visit emergency rooms (ERs) for medical treatment every year. Many of those visits end in injuries because of errors that could have easily been prevented. There are several important steps every person can take to help reduce the risk of injuries and errors in a medical setting. 

The first mistake people make is failing to realize whether the emergency is serious enough for a trip to the ER. Some symptoms absolutely necessitate a visit to the ER and accepting this fact is the first step to getting the best possible care. Too often people suffering stroke-like or heart attack symptoms will wait to see if these symptoms will resolve on their own. However, in these situations, time is of the essence. A delay in seeking treatment can only exacerbate the medical problem, resulting in poor outcomes and limited treatment options. Neurologists and cardiologists both agree that time is a factor when trying to protect tissue, whether brain or heart.

Once a patient actually reaches the Emergency Room, it is critical that all symptoms are fully communicated to the ER personnel with absolute clarity. There are several possible factors that can cause errors and injuries in an emergency room, and failure to communicate is top of that list. Carefully recount your symptoms to the staff at the ER. Provide a complete background of your medical history. Give as many details as possible including duration and details of symptoms and the types of medications you are currently taking and for what conditions. No detail is too small or unimportant.

Candles-00153-300x204The holiday season is definitely not when you expect to be visiting the emergency room, but emergencies occur when you least expect it and often when they are most inconvenient. Consumer Reports has plenty of tips and advice for those who might find themselves waiting at an ER for emergency medical treatment this holiday season.

You can reduce the chances that you will need emergency medical treatment by avoiding injury risks. Many of the injuries that result in emergency room visits over the holiday season involve falls while hanging decorations. Others are a result of fires involving Christmas lighting. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that as many as 15,000 people are injured and have to be rushed to emergency rooms every holiday season as a result of decoration-related injuries.  

Drive safely. Car accident rates spike every year between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol – drunk driving results in many serious accidents over the holiday season, many of which require visits to the emergency room. Have a plan to secure a designated driver and carefully plan out in your mind a safe route home. Be sure to avoid overcrowded routes. Be especially careful on the roads, and look out for intoxicated drivers when you are out and about, especially late at night. Drive defensively and stay alert.

spinal xrayEmergency Room negligence is still factor in many medical fatalities every year, but there is good news coming. A new study finds that hospital emergency room fatalities in the United States dropped dramatically; by nearly 50% over a 15- year period.

According to the research, based on an analysis of more than 368,000 visits to ER’s across the country between 1997 and 2011, there was a 48% drop in fatalities in emergency rooms. The bottom line is this: You are much less likely to die in a hospital emergency room now than you were a decade and a half ago.

According to the researchers, there has been a marked increase in the number of patients in hospice care (at home to care for the terminally ill), as well as improvements in the scope and nature of emergency room medicine. Each of these have contributed to the drop in ER mortality. In addition, ER staff now have access to medical technology that makes it much easier for them to respond quickly and appropriately to manage conditions like strokes, heart attacks, or serious personal injuries.

Stethescopic DeviceAn emergency room provides health professionals a very different work environment from those that doctors in other medical fields are exposed. By its very nature, the emergency room tends to be chaotic, even disorganized, and many medical negligence factors like under-staffing, seem more pervasive.

There are several types of emergency room errors that can occur as a result of the fast-paced, understaffed setting, and wide variety of medical presentations.  The more common of these errors involves a wrong diagnosis. In fact, according to some statistics, as many as 20% of all emergency room errors involve misdiagnosis, wrong diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or some other type of diagnostic errors. It may seem like diagnostic errors are to be expected in a fast-paced, hectic environment like an emergency room where the focus is on treating patients as quickly as possible and getting them out of the ER and to the floor or back home as fast as possible.  Often there is a long line of other patients waiting for treatment.

However, the rate of these errors can be minimized by ordering immediate and appropriate tests. Failure to order appropriate tests, or to evaluate test results quickly and accurately is one of the major reasons why diagnostic errors are so common in hospital emergency rooms. The pace of the emergency room, one that values speed and efficiency over accuracy above all else, is also one of the reasons why misdiagnoses or wrong diagnosis are so often experienced.