Kaiser Health News
Dr. Zoe Maher has never been busier. In addition to being a trauma surgeon and a new mom, she’s spent the last year and a half talking to hospital patients and community groups across Philadelphia about a study she’s confident will save more adult gunshot and stab wound victims.
On a recent Saturday morning, Maher stood before a dozen members of a North Philadelphia neighborhood association to walk them through the specifics of the Philadelphia Immediate Transport in Penetrating Trauma Trial.
At the heart of the study is a simple but counterintuitive idea. For patients who are potentially bleeding to death, Maher and her colleagues say, basic, stabilizing care is better than more advanced care until they reach the hospital.
To test this, patients in the study would get different medical attention based on the dispatch number city paramedics receive — what’s called a randomized study.
“It’s like the flip of a coin if patients are getting advanced or basic,” said Maher, who works at Temple University Hospital.
People with odd dispatch numbers will get what’s called advanced care, which is what the majority of patients transported by paramedics get now. It includes procedures like inserting a breathing tube or supplying intravenous fluids.
Even numbers will get what’s known as basic care, which can include hemorrhage control, breathing assistance with a bag-valve mask, dressing wounds and aligning bones. They would then be immediately transported to the hospital.
But the idea of assigning types of care randomly got mixed reviews at the community meeting in North Philadelphia. [Read more…]