EMS Physicians Address Ambulance Safety

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The National Association of EMS Physicians is presenting a two-day Ambulance Safety Conference, which will include a panel of leading experts who will be discussing topics related to the improvement of safety for rescuers and patients in a moving ambulance. Experts at the Ambulance Safety Conference 2010 will be asked to actively participate in developing a research agenda for the future.

EMS personnel encounter a hazardous and difficult work environment in a moving ambulance while providing life-saving and life-sustaining emergency patient care. Ambulance crashes and injuries are common and deadly events that may be preventable with attention to ambulance external design and to internal configuration of the rear compartment. Crashworthy testing of ambulances may provide additional information that can be applied to reduce injury to providers and patients.

Medical care provided in a moving ambulance is often less that optimal and may result in poor patient outcome or provider injury. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to manually perform CPR to the standard required to sustain life while standing in the back of a moving ambulance. Automated chest compression devices can help alleviate the risk to rescuers and improve compressions that can be delivered while the medic is seated-belted and free to provide other interventions that are possible when seated. Other patient care that can result in provider injury or poor patient outcomes include the establishment of intravenous lines, restraint of a violent patient, and intubation of patients.

“Addressing and solving the problems of ambulance safety requires experts in a large and diverse community to come together to discuss the issues and plan for the future,” said Theodore R. Delbridge, M.D., MPH, President of NAEMSP. “By providing this forum for interaction, networking, and discussion, NAEMSP is hoping to spawn new ideas and solutions to these complex problems. The resulting development of a white paper will provide a framework for future research and initiatives to create a safe working environment for EMS providers and a secure care setting for patients.”

Key topics for discussion include:
• Safety of ambulance design
• Driver safety and monitoring systems
• Restraint devices
• Provider safety
• Ambulance crash data
• Ergonomics
• Patient safety
• Delivery of patient care in a moving ambulance

For a copy of the conference agenda and a list of speakers, please visit www.zoll.com/naemsp/agenda.

The conference is being underwritten by grants from ZOLL Medical Corporation and Physio-Control.