“Advanced” Ambulance Not Always the Best

Patients transported by EMTs in basic ambulances do better than those in advanced life-support vehicles. Advanced ambulances are full of more sophisticated equipment for more invasive procedures. These advanced crews take longer to perform those procedures, such as administering IV fluids or inserting airway tubes, because they don’t have as much practice as hospital clinicians. This extra time may not be worth it. Crews of basic ambulances use rudimentary methods that will get the patient to the hospital faster.

Of a sample of Medicare patients, those with heart attacks were 6% more likely to survive after a basic ambulance ride rather than an advanced one. Also, stroke patients survived 4% more often and major trauma patients 12.5%. Perhaps unnecessarily, 65% of Medicare patients are transported in advanced ambulances.
Sun, Lena H. “Need an ambulance? Why you may not want the more sophisticated version.” To Your Health. The Washington Post, 12 Oct 2015. Web. 13 Oct 2015.

One response

My guess is that the elderly and those with severe life-threatening problems are the patients most likely to receive an advanced ambulance for transport. That may be one reason that the survival rates are lower; the type of ambulance may have nothing to do with it.

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