Picture Boards Speak In Health Crisis

From CBS News:

With more ill and injured people needing emergency care but do not speak English, hospitals, clinics and rescue squads are turning to picture boards to bridge the communication gap with easily understood images.

The large, double-sided panels let patients point to icons showing their problem _ such as pain, a burn, breathing trouble or a fall _ as well as the part of the body that is affected. They also can point to their native language in a list so an appropriate interpreter can be located.

“They ought to be in every ambulance, in every hospital, in every clinic,” said Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, head of New Jersey’s health department. “Communication barriers lead to adverse impacts on (care) quality, misunderstandings and even medical errors.”

His department is partnering with the state’s hospital association to distribute thousands of the boards to all New Jersey hospitals, rescue squads and public health clinics.

New, small portable ultrasound

From a press release:

Siemens introduces the world’s smallest ultrasound device for initial diagnosis in emergency situations

The first few minutes are instrumental in emergency situations. A new portable ultrasound device from Siemens Medical Systems supports medical personnel in these efforts. The device, known as Acuson P10, is a hand-held device intended for complementary initial diagnostic care and triage, particularly in cardiology, emergency care and obstetrics. It is poised to change the physical exam by providing immediate information to health care providers at the earliest possible patient intervention points, such as intensive care units, ambulances and medical helicopters. The advantages of the new system are its portability, easy handling as well as its fast and consistent availability to the physician. The device is barely larger than a Blackberry and weighs just a little more than 700 grams.

I’ll Drive, I’m Just Having a Heart Attack

From the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog:

Hey, tough guy: It’s OK to call 911 if you think you’re having a heart attack. In fact, it can help you save precious heart muscle and lower your chances of death.

But, as the WSJ’s Ron Winslow points out in this morning’s paper, a recent study in Minnesota found that only 37% of rural men who were having heart attacks arrived at the hospital in an ambulance. The rest drove themselves or got a ride from a friend or family member. Women with heart attacks did slightly better but still not great– 49% of them came by ambulance.