Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why The Peoria Fire Department Should Have Been Transporting Patients During the Last Two Decades

Several of the Peoria Fire Department stations are now Advanced Life Support (ALS). In other words the firefighters at these stations are paramedics and can provide ALS at the scene of a medical emergency.

However, the Peoria Fire Department still cannot transport patients to any emergency department in Peoria. Local politics have not allowed this to happen.

AudioDigest Emergency Medicine (June 21, 2014) contains this paragraph about transport of trauma patients:

Rapid transport: triage critical to determine which patients to transport first; adequate on-scene organization required to distribute patients as widely as possible to avoid overwhelming closest hospital or trauma center; ALS vs basic life support (BLS) — no role for ALS on scene if transport available; BLS can be performed by civilians (except needle thoracostomy); leading causes of preventable combat deaths or terrorist-type bombings include extremity hemorrhage, tension pneumothorax, and airway obstruction (all readily mitigated by simple BLS maneuvers by emergency medical technicians, first responders, or lay people).

What this means is that no matter if the Peoria Fire Department stations are BLS or ALS, triage and rapid transport are what are important to save lives.

I wonder how many lives could have been saved in Peoria over the last two decades if the Peoria Fire Department had been able to transport the patient quickly to one of our area Emergency Departments rather than waiting on Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) to arrive. However, the money is made in transport and this is not something that the leaders of our community who support AMT want to surrender to the Peoria Fire Department.

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