Interesting Technique

From iWon News

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – A seat belt saved a driver, police say, but not in the usual way. Steven Earp, 48, was eating a fast-food sandwich Wednesday morning, said police Sgt. Doug Mozan. Earp choked and blacked out. His 1997 Honda sedan hit a parked car.

After the wreck, Earp came to.

Mozan attributed his revival to a “seat-belt-induced Heimlich maneuver.”

Lawsuit Contests Weight Rule for Helicopter Transport

From EM News:

A lawsuit alleging that a Florida car crash victim might have survived if a helicopter had been sent instead of an ambulance may be the first legal challenge of its kind in the nation.

Sharon Hanlon, the attorney representing family members of the deceased woman, Diana Lopez, said Collier County emergency personnel were lax when they allegedly declined to provide air transport because of her weight, which reportedly exceeded 300 pounds. That negligence occurred due to failure to clarify the rules/procedures regarding heavy-set patients who are trauma alert patients, she said.

Ms. Lopez was in her mid-30s, was a business owner of a trucking company, recently underwent gastric bypass surgery, and had lost 94 pounds. She was in good health and looking forward to life, Ms. Hanlon asserted.

The defense countered that the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages was the decedent’s own negligence and actions, or omissions, including, but not limited to, failing to wear a seatbelt. County officials appear confident that neither Collier County nor its Emergency Medical Services will be held liable. We believe that the county has many viable defenses to this action, said Assistant County Attorney William Mountford, who filed Collier County’s legal reply to the wrongful death suit.

Persuasive demo

From the Daily Mail (Auckland, New Zealand):

An elderly New Zealand man who suffered a heart attack at a hardware store was revived by a salesman who just happened to be demonstrating a defibrillator to store staff.

Malpractice: To settle or fight

From Medical Economics:

Being named in a malpractice suit is bad enough. Being told by your attorney and insurance carrier that the case “just isn’t defensible” is worse still.

Those discouraging words—which, when combined, usually spell “settlement”—aren’t always based on medical events. Two physicians might provide the same treatment to similarly afflicted patients, resulting in the same unfortunate outcome, but one doctor goes to court and wins, while the other is forced to settle for $1 million.

Why the difference? Partly, it’s the vagaries of the legal system, which relies on judges, attorneys, and juries that differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and case to case. Partly it’s because your insurer might prefer to avoid the expense of litigation. (See “Sued? You may never get your day in court,” Aug. 4, 2006.) But mostly it’s because the nonmedical aspects of a malpractice case can trump the therapeutic ones. Defense attorneys, after weighing all the pertinent factors, might conclude that you’re best off settling out of court because you’re not likely to fare well before a judge and jury.

Defibrillators for Lacrosse

From the Baltimore Business Journal

U.S. Lacrosse said Tuesday it’s teaming up with a cardiac monitoring manufacturer to get teams and leagues to have defibrillators ready on the sidelines at games.

Cardiac Science Corp. (NASDAQ: CSCX) will offer Baltimore-based U.S. Lacrosse’s 250,000 national members a discounted price on the company’s Powerheart automated external defibrillators.

The defibrillators use an electric shock to jolt a heart back into rhythm in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. Since 1999, at least five players have died during live lacrosse competition as a result of sudden cardiac arrest, according to U.S. Lacrosse officials.

Bothell, Wash.-based Cardiac Science will offer the defibrillators to U.S. Lacrosse members at a price of $1,395, a 44 percent savings off the regular price of $2,495.

Automated external defibrillators are used in response to commotio cordis, which can cause sudden cardiac arrest in athletes. Commotio cordis can occur when an athlete is struck in the chest area around the heart. The impact does not have to be severe for sudden cardiac arrest to occur.

MN Level One Heart Attack Center in the WSJ

From the Wall Street Journal

Mr. Femling was treated under an initiative introduced by cardiologists at Minneapolis Heart Institute to improve heart-attack care. Since 2003, the Minneapolis cardiologists have treated more than 1,200 patients who were transferred to the city’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital via ambulance or helicopter from 31 community hospitals as far as 210 miles away. The strategy is patterned after trauma centers that handle victims of car crashes and gunshot wounds.

Stroke Dx Admit from the ED: Statistics

From ACEP News (now in digital format)

Heads Up: Brain Injury in Your Practice

An estimated 75%-90% of the 1.4 million traumatic brain injury-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits that occur each year are concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI).

Many individuals who sustain an MTBI are not hospitalized or receive no medical care at all. An unknown proportion of those who are not hospitalized may experience long-term problems such as persistent headache, pain, fatigue, vision or hearing problems, memory problems, confusion, sleep disturbances, or mood changes. Symptoms of MTBI or concussion may appear mild, but can lead to significant, life-long impairment affecting an individual’s ability to function physically, cognitively, and psychologically.

Physicians can play a key role in helping to prevent MTBI or concussion and improve a patient’s health outcomes through early diagnosis, management, and appropriate referral.

In response, CDC, in collaboration with an expert work group, has recently updated and revised the “Heads Up: Brain Injury in Your Practice” tool kit. This tool kit is available free-of-charge at


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