In an emergency situation, paramedics can mean the difference between life
and death. However, a recent study suggests that many are not properly trained.
Researchers surveyed 610 paramedics from across the country, the large
majority of which worked in critical care transport. Lead author William
Raynovich, of Creighton University EMS Education, and his colleagues asked
the respondents what skills and tools they used while transporting patients
and whether they received relevant training.
The results are alarming. As
Reuters reports, nearly 12 percent of the paramedics who reported handling blood
products, managing patients with chest tubes, or using devices to measure
pressure inside the skull received no applicable training. The statistics
were similar for neonatal incubators.
“It is most troubling that critical care patients are transported
by paramedic crews that have not been adequately trained to manage the
patient conditions, and the medications that are being administered to
the patient, and the equipment that is in use during the transports,”
Of course, this lack of training presents serious risks for patients. When
faced with a medical emergency, paramedics may not have the skills and
knowledge needed to provide the proper treatment.