Man armed with potato steals ambulance

From WTSP:

When medical personnel responded to The Zone to care for two customers hurt by the blast, someone drove away with their ambulance. Police were able to track the vehicle with GPS to the city’s water treatment plant about a block away.

According to police, the man, Christopher Povlik, was armed with a flashlight stolen from the water treatment plant, along with a potato. He used multiple names to identify himself to police, including “Maggie,” “Shadow,” and “Spartacus.”

Nine Recent Studies on Emergency Department Visits

From Becker’s:

4. Medicaid patients are two times more likely to visit emergency departments compared to patients with commercial insurance, according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

5. Greater continuity of care with a specialist and greater comprehensive care by a family physician were associated with less use of the emergency department, according to a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Helicopter Use Increases Survival Chances After Trauma

From MedPage Today:

Patients with traumatic injuries may have a better chance of survival if they’re airlifted to a trauma center instead of traveling by ground transport, a retrospective study showed.

Helicopter transport was associated with greater odds of surviving to discharge from a level I or II trauma center (ORs 1.15 and 1.16), according to Samuel Galvagno Jr., DO, PhD, of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, and colleagues.

Flying Highway Sign Kills Pennsylvania Woman

From JEMS:

A suburban Philadelphia woman has died after a freak highway accident involving a flying road sign.

Officials say a truck clipped the road sign on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, sending it into the air. The sign then crashed through Morris’ windshield.

Interpreters in ER may help limit medical errors

From the Chicago Tribune:

Having professional translators in the emergency room for non-English-speaking patients might help limit potentially dangerous miscommunication, a new study suggests.

The study, done at two pediatric ERs, found that when Spanish-speaking families had access to a professional interpreter, 12 percent of translation slips — such as adding or omitting certain words and phrases — could have had “clinical consequences,” like giving a wrong medication dose.

But mistakes like that were about twice as likely if there was no interpreter or if the translator was an amateur, like a family member or a bilingual member of the hospital staff. Twenty to 22 percent of all of their translation errors had potential health risks to the child.

Emergency doctors urge parents to know their child’s exact weight

From the Herald Sun:

Drug doses, shock voltages and even medical equipment are based on a child’s size so if parents have the details on hand, they can save doctors crucial minutes when it comes to their care.

(A study) showed that even when a parent was not entirely certain of their child’s weight, their estimate was more accurate than the hospital’s methods.

A staggering 78 per cent of estimations came within 10 per cent of the child’s actual weight.

U.S. Children Are Safer Than Ever, But Suffocation, Poisoning Rise

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

The nation’s children are safer than ever, from schoolyard playgrounds to the back seats of cars, new government data show. But unintentional injuries and deaths from suffocation and poisoning are on the rise, a troubling sign for U.S. health officials.

The rate of death from unintentional injuries—the leading cause for youths between the ages of 1 and 19—dropped 29% from 2000 to 2009, according to data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of deaths fell during the same time frame, dropping from about 12,400 in 2000 to around 9,100 in 2009.

The numbers don’t include youth deaths from violence.