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Prehosp Disaster Med [journal]
- Online Victim Tracking and Tracing System (ViTTS) for Major Incident Casualties. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 May 13.:1-9.
Introduction Dealing with major incidents requires an immediate and coordinated response by multiple organizations. Communicating and coordinating over multiple geographical locations and organizations is a complex process. One of the greatest challenges is patient tracking and tracing. Often, data about the number of victims, their condition, location and transport is lacking. This hinders an effective response and causes public distress. To address this problem, a Victim Tracing and Tracking system (ViTTS) was developed.
METHODS:An online ViTTS was developed based on a wireless network with routers on ambulances, and direct online registration of victims and their triage data through barcode injury cards. The system was tested for feasibility and usability during disaster drills.
RESULTS:The formation of a local radio network of hotspots with mobile routers and connection over General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) to the central database worked well. ViTTS produced accurately stored data, real-time availability, and a real-time overview of the patients (number, seriousness of injury, and location).
CONCLUSION:The ViTTS provides a system for early, unique registration of victims close to the impact site. Online application and connection of the various systems used by the different chains in disaster relief promotes interoperability and enables patient tracking and tracing. It offers a real-time overview of victims to all involved disaster relief partners, which is necessary to generate an adequate disaster response. Marres GMH , Taal L , Bemelman M , Bouman J , Leenen LPH . Online Victim Tracking and Tracing System (ViTTS) for major incident casualties. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-9 .
- Injuries and Fatalities among Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics in the United States. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 May 9.:1-7.
Introduction Emergency medical services personnel treat 22 million patients a year, yet little is known of their risk of injury and fatality. Problem Work-related injury and fatality rates among US paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are higher than the national average for all occupations.
METHODS:Data collected by the Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics were reviewed to identify injuries and fatalities among EMTs and paramedics from 2003 through 2007. The characteristics of fatal injuries are described and the rates and relative risks of the non-fatal injuries were calculated and compared to the national average.
RESULTS:Of the 21,749 reported cases, 21,690 involved non-fatal injuries or illnesses that resulted in lost work days among EMTs and paramedics within the private sector. Of the injuries, 3,710 (17%) resulted in ≥31 days of lost work time. A total of 14,470 cases (67%) involved sprains or strains; back injury was reported in 9,290 of the cases (43%); and the patient was listed as the source of injury in 7,960 (37%) cases. The most common events were overexertion (12,146, 56%), falls (2,169, 10%), and transportation-related (1,940, 9%). A total of 530 assaults were reported during the study period. Forty-five percent of the cases occurred among females (females accounted for 27% of employment in this occupation during 2007). In 2007, EMTs and paramedics suffered 349.9 injuries with days away from work per 10,000 full-time workers, compared to an average of 122.2 for all private industry occupations (Relative risk = 2.9; 95% CI: 2.7-3.0). During the study period, 59 fatalities occurred among EMTs and paramedics in both the private industry and in the public sector. Of those fatalities, 51 (86%) were transportation-related and five (8%) were assaults; 33 (56%) were classified as "multiple traumatic injuries."
CONCLUSIONS:Data from the DOL show that EMTs and paramedics have a rate of injury that is about three times the national average for all occupations. The vast majority of fatalities are secondary to transportation related-incidents. Assaults are also identified as a significant cause of fatality. The findings also indicate that females in this occupational group may have a disproportionately larger number of injuries. Support is recommended for further research related to causal factors and for the development, evaluation and promulgation of evidence-based interventions to mitigate this problem. Maguire BJ , Smith S . Injuries and fatalities among emergency medical technicians and paramedics in the United States. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-7 .
- Crew and Patient Safety in Ambulances: Results of a Personnel Survey and Experimental Side Impact Crash Test. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 May 7.:1-6.
Introduction Ambulance drivers often travel under stressful conditions at high speed while using vehicles with poor high-speed maneuverability. The occupant safety of ambulance vehicles has not yet been addressed by the automotive safety paradigm; particularly for the rear patient compartment. This study had two objectives: (1) to assess by survey the French Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to determine the layout of the vehicle most often used and the EMS personnel's behavior during transport; and (2) to conduct a crash test to analyze the injuries which may affect EMS personnel and patients in the rear patient compartment. Method Firstly, a survey was distributed to the 50 largest metropolitan French EMS programs. Secondly, a crash test was performed with a Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) in conditions closest to reality.
RESULTS:Forty-nine of the 50 biggest metropolitan French EMS programs responded to the survey. This represents 108 French MICUs. During the last three years, 12 of 49 EMS programs (24%) identified at least one accident with an MICU, and six of these 12 (50%) suffered at least one death in those accidents. A crash test using a typical French EMS MICU showed that after impact of a collision, the ambulance was moved more than five meters with major consequences for all passengers. A study-approved human cadaver placed in the position of a potential patient was partially thrown from the stretcher with a head impact. The accelerometric reaction of the anthropomorphic manikin head was measured at 48G.
CONCLUSION:The crash test demonstrated a lack of safety for EMS personnel and patients in the rear compartment. It would be preferable if each piece of medical equipment were provided with a quick release system resistant to three-dimensional 10G forces. The kinetic changes undergone by the "patient" substitute on the stretcher would probably have an effect of causing injury pathology. This study highlights the need for more research and development in this area. Fournier M , Chenaitia H , Masson C , Michelet P , Behr M , Auffray JP . Crew and patient safety in ambulances: results of a personnel survey and experimental side impact crash test. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-6 .
- Survey of Factors Affecting Health Care Workers' Perception Towards Institutional and Individual Disaster Preparedness. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 May 2.:1-6.
Introduction Health care institutions constantly must be prepared for disaster response. However, there are deficiencies in the current level of preparedness. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors affecting the perception of health care workers (HCWs) towards individual and institutional preparedness for a disaster.
METHODS:A survey on disaster incident preparedness was conducted among doctors, nurses, and allied health workers over a period of two months in 2010. The survey investigated perceptions of disaster preparedness at the individual and institutional level. Responses were measured using a five-point Likert scale. The primary outcomes were factors affecting HCWs' perception of institution and individual preparedness. Secondary outcomes were the proportions of staff willing to participate and to place importance on disaster response training and their knowledge of access to such training. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Logistic regression was performed to determine the factors that influenced the HCWs' perception of their individual and institutional readiness. Odd ratios (ORs) of such factors were reported with their 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS:Of 1700 HCWs, 1534 (90.2%) completed the survey. 75.3% (1155/1534) felt that the institution was ready for a disaster incident, but only 36.4% (558/1534) felt that they (as individuals) were prepared. Some important factors associated with a positive perception of institution preparedness were leadership preparedness (OR = 13.19; 95% CI, 9.93-17.51), peer preparedness (OR = 6.11; 95% CI, 4.27-8.73) and availability of training opportunities (OR = 4.76; 95% CI, 3.65-6.22). Some important factors associated with a positive perception of individual preparedness were prior experience in disaster response (OR = 2.80; 95% CI, 1.99-3.93), institution preparedness (OR = 3.71; 95% CI, 2.68-5.14), peer preparedness (OR = 3.49; 95% CI, 2.75-4.26), previous training in disaster response (OR = 3.48; 95% CI, 2.76-4.39) and family support (OR = 3.22; 95% CI, 2.54-4.07). Most (80.7%, 1238/1534) were willing to participate in future disaster incident response training, while 74.5% (1143/1534) felt that being able to respond to a disaster incident constitutes part of their professional competency. However, only 27.8% (426/1534) knew how to access these training opportunities.
CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrated that HCWs fare poorly in their perception of their individual preparedness. Important factors that might contribute to improving this perception at the individual and institution level have been identified. These factors could guide the review and implementation of future disaster incident response training in health care institutions. Lim GH , Lim BL , Vasu A . Survey of factors affecting health care workers' perception towards institutional and individual disaster preparedness. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-6.
- Cholera in Haiti: Redefining Emergency Public Health Philosophy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 May 3.:1-2.
- Effect of Hydroxocobalamin on Surface Oximetry in Nonexposed Humans. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 May 1.:1-3.
Introduction The newer cyanide antidote, hydroxocobalamin, due to its pigmentation, has been found to cause interferences in some laboratory assays. Co-oximetry may also be affected by hydroxocobalamin, leading to false elevations in hemoglobin concentration, methemoglobin, carboxyhemoglobin, and false decreases in oxyhemoglobin. The Masimo Radical-7 is a medical device that performs noninvasive oximetry and estimates hemoglobin (Hb) concentration and percent carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), methemoglobin (MetHb), and oxyhemoglobin saturation (O2Hb). Study Objectives The study sought to determine the effect of hydroxocobalamin on noninvasive measurement of hemoglobin indices using the Masimo Radical-7 monitor.
METHODS:Seven asymptomatic volunteers who were unexposed to cyanide had baseline heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and oximeter measurements recorded followed by an infusion of five grams of hydroxocobalamin over 15 minutes. The above parameters were subsequently recorded at: 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 minutes post infusion. Data were analyzed by calculating the area under the curve (AUC) for each variable and comparing the results to expected values by paired t tests. Expected AUC values were calculated by extrapolating baseline values across the entire time period.
RESULTS:The mean differences from baseline values with 95% confidence intervals and t tests of mean difference were: SBP: 11 mm Hg (95% CI, 0-22; P = .051); HR: -9 (95% CI, -15 to -3; P = .01); Hb: -0.1 (95% CI, -0.7 to 0.4; P = .57); O2Hb: 0 g/dL (95% CI, -1 to 1; P = .41); COHb: -1 (95% CI, -3 to 1; P = .25); MetHb: -0.2 (95% CI, -0.3 to 0; P = .03). Discussion After infusion of hydroxocobalamin there was a significant elevation of systolic blood pressure and decrease in heart rate. There were no significant differences in Hb, O2Hb, and COHb. Although percent methemoglobin concentrations were statistically lower, the authors feel this difference is of trivial clinical significance.
CONCLUSION:The administration of hydroxocobalamin does not significantly impact noninvasive oximetry. Cashin B , Matlock A , Kang C , Reynolds P , Wills B . Effect of hydroxocobalamin on surface oximetry in nonexposed humans. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-3 .
- The Impact of Recurrent Disasters on Mental Health: A Study on Seasonal Floods in Northern India. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 Apr 24.:1-7.
Introduction Very little is known on the impact of recurrent disasters on mental health. Aim The present study examines the immediate impact of a recurrent flood on mental health and functioning among an affected population in the rural district of Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India, compared with a population in the same region that is not affected by floods.
METHODS:The study compared 318 affected respondents with 308 individuals who were not affected by floods. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed by the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25). Psychological and physical functioning was assessed by using the Short Form-12 (SF-12).
RESULTS:The affected group showed large to very large differences with the comparison group on symptoms of anxiety (D = .92) and depression (D = 1.22). The affected group scored significantly lower on psychological and physical functioning than the comparison group (respectively D = .33 and D = .80). However, hierarchical linear regressions showed no significant relationship between mental health and the domains of functioning in the affected group, whereas mental health and the domains of functioning were significantly related in the comparison group.
CONCLUSION:This study found a large negative impact of the recurrent floods on mental health outcomes and psychological and physical functioning. However, in a context with recurrent floods, disaster mental health status is not a relevant predictor of functioning. The findings suggest that the observed mental health status and impaired functioning in this context are also outcomes of another mechanism: Both outcomes are likely to be related to the erosion of the social and environmental and material context. As such, the findings refer to a need to implement psychosocial context-oriented interventions to address the erosion of the context rather than specific mental health interventions. Wind TR , Joshi PC , Kleber RJ , Komproe IH . The impact of recurrent disasters on mental health: a study on seasonal floods in northern India. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(3):1-7 .
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Nasal Colonization Prevalence among Emergency Medical Services Personnel. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 Apr 24.:1-5.
Introduction The prevalence of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal colonization among Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel is not well studied. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization can be a health hazard for both EMS personnel and patients. The aim of this study was to quantify the prevalence of MRSA colonization among EMS personnel. This study will help the scientific community understand the extent of this condition so that further protocols and policies can be developed to support the health and wellbeing of EMS personnel. Hypothesis/ Problem The hypothesis of this study was that the prevalence of MRSA colonization among EMS personnel is significantly higher than among the general population.
METHODS:This was a cross-sectional study. A total of 110 subjects were selected from two major US Mid-Atlantic fire departments. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization was detected by nasal swabbing. Nasal swabs were inoculated onto a special agar medium (C-MRSAgar) with polymerase chain reaction testing performed. One-sided binomial distribution at the StudySize 2.0 Web calculator was used. Using the Web calculator, p (H0 proportion) = 1.5%; a difference (H1-H0) 'Δ' = 4.53% can be detected at α = 5% and power = 80% with N = 110.
RESULTS:Samples were collected from 110 volunteers. Seven samples were positive for MRSA, resulting in a prevalence of 7/110 or 6.4% (95% CI, 1.8%-11%; P < .0003) compared with a 1.5% prevalence of MRSA colonization among the general population.
CONCLUSION:There is evidence that EMS personnel have a higher prevalence of MRSA colonization than the general population. This can be a risk to patients and can be recognized as an occupational hazard. Al Amiry A , Bissell RA , Maguire BJ , Alves DW . Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization prevalence among Emergency Medical Services personnel. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-5 .
- Managing Multiple-Casualty Incidents: A Rural Medical Preparedness Training Assessment. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 Apr 18.:1-8.
OBJECTIVE:The objectives of this study were to develop a novel training model for using mass-casualty incident (MCI) scenarios that trained hospital and prehospital staff together using Microsoft Visio, images from Google Earth and icons representing first responders, equipment resources, local hospital emergency department bed capacity, and trauma victims. The authors also tested participants' knowledge in the areas of communications, incident command systems (ICS), and triage.
METHODS:Participants attended Managing Multiple-Casualty Incidents (MCIs), a one-day training which offered pre- and post-tests, two one-hour functional exercises, and four distinct, one-hour didactic instructional periods. Two MCI functional exercises were conducted. The one-hour trainings focused on communications, National Incident Management Systems/Incident Command Systems (NIMS/ICS) and professional roles and responsibilities in NIMS and triage. The trainings were offered throughout communities in western Montana. First response resource inventories and general manpower statistics for fire, police, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and emergency department hospital bed capacity were determined prior to MCI scenario construction. A test was given prior to and after the training activities.
RESULTS:A total of 175 firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, hospital personnel or other first-responders completed the pre- and post-test. Firefighters produced higher baseline scores than all other disciplines during pre-test analysis. At the end of the training all disciplines demonstrated significantly higher scores on the post-test when compared with their respective baseline averages. Improvements in post-test scores were noted for participants from all disciplines and in all didactic areas: communications, NIMS/ICS, and triage.
CONCLUSIONS:Mass-casualty incidents offer significant challenges for prehospital and emergency room workers. Fire, Police and EMS personnel must secure the scene, establish communications, define individuals' roles and responsibilities, allocate resources, triage patients, and assign transport priorities. After emergency department notification and in advance of arrival, emergency department personnel must assess available physical resources and availability and type of manpower, all while managing patients already under their care. Mass-casualty incident trainings should strengthen the key, individual elements essential to well-coordinated response such as communications, incident management system and triage. The practice scenarios should be matched to the specific resources of the community. The authors also believe that these trainings should be provided with all disciplines represented to eliminate training "silos," to allow for discussion of overlapping jurisdictional or organizational responsibilities, and to facilitate team building. Glow SD , Colucci VJ , Allington DR , Noonan CW , Hall EC . Managing multiple-casualty incidents: a rural medical preparedness training assessment. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-8.
- Ethical Issues in DNA Identification of Human Biological Material from Mass Disasters. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Prehosp Disaster Med 2013 Apr 18.:1-4.
Each mass disaster has its own characteristics and will involve a different approach, so the safeguarding and collection of forensic evidence have to be considered as part of the field response procedure. DNA typing has played a more prominent role in the identification of human remains, and particularly so for highly decomposed and fragmented remains. Although the ultimate goal is to obtain the identification, the specific context of each application of human identity testing has its specific problems, ranging from technical approach, through statistical interpretation, to ethical issues. The preparedness plan of the forensic genetics laboratory needs to include policies for family notification, long-term sample storage, and data archiving. For this reason, DNA sample collection and a strategy for DNA-based victim identification needs to be part of the preparedness plan. In this paper, the authors seek to define three of these ethical aspects: (1) the humanitarian importance of identification; (2) resource allocation in the victims' DNA identification; and (3) the secondary use for research of the samples initially collected for identification purposes. DNA analysis for the purpose of identifying victims of mass disasters has complex implications that demand much more rigorous examination than they have received until now. Caenazzo L , Tozzo P , Rodriguez D . Ethical issues in DNA identification of human biological material from mass disasters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(4):1-4 .