OUR SAY: Improving your odds in the ride of life and death

16/02/2019 Posted by admin

A LOT of things could go terribly wrong during a dash to hospital with a suspected heart attack patient in the family car and yet that is how the majority get there.

A staggering two-thirds of all heart attack patients rushed to Orange hospital choose not to call an ambulance and get there under their own steam. A few even drive themselves.

For most a spouse or other family member takes responsibility for getting them there, at a time when stress and the pressure of a real emergency means judgment will be impaired and poor decisions made.

Speeding down suburban roads without the authority of a wailing siren to clear the traffic must increase the chances of an accident en route.

And what happens if the patient deteriorates? Does the driver pull over and attempt resuscitation or press on and hope to get to the hospital in time?

It is hard to understand why anyone would put themselves or a loved one in a nightmare scenario like this even if they thought it was quicker to drive than wait for the ambulance.

Frantic calculations made about the travelling time for an ambulance to reach the patient and then make the return trip to hospital is one likely explanation, but apart from the obvious risk to other road users it ignores advances in diagnosis that make the do-it-yourself option the wrong one.

Chief among these is the capability of ambulance officers to begin heart monitoring at the scene, continue this while en route and transmit data to the waiting emergency team.

All this means that some of the initial treatment can be decided while the patient is in transit and can begin in the ambulance or as soon as the ambulance arrives at the emergency department.

Sadly, significant advances in emergency medicine in this region may be wasted if we are not prepared to put our trust and our lives in the hands of the experts.

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