Friday, June 6, 2008

Why do we help?

A story that could be called interesting--or shocking--depending on one's perspective hit CNN this morning:

Hit-and-run victim left in street without help

A 78-year-old man was struck by a car and left to lie injured in the street as cars and pedestrians went by without rendering aid. The police chief told the Hartford Courant, "We no longer have a moral compass."

Why don't people help?

One witness, Bryant Hayre, told The Hartford Courant he didn't feel comfortable helping Torres, who he said was bleeding and conscious.

Why did I say this phenomenon is interesting? In a CPR listserv I monitor there recently was an in depth discussion on why people don't help. There is also an upcoming session at the Heart Association's ECCU Conference in Las Vegas in July. This session seeks to explore these non-system behavioral issues:
Reshaping the System of Survival for SCA

The Questions

Why after 40 years of enormous energy and resources is the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survival rate low, very low—too low? Are we doing the “right” things?

The Pathway

Perhaps we could benefit from a new mindset in which we re-think and re-design how we prepare for and respond to SCA. Perhaps applying system and design thinking strategies from disciplines including management and behavioral science can be a creative and worthwhile pathway to address SCA challenges.

It is an interesting concept. Maybe we could save more people by greater involvement and commitment from the entire EMS system (including the public) than we could from a change in science.

My friends Allan Braslow and Frank Poliafico will be involved in this discussion. I believe it is an important direction and a worthy effort.

I'll end with a question or two. Why do YOU do it? Why do you stop when others won't? Why do you go in when others run away?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Catching up on the news...

Every so often I post on a series of events that appear to be formative or important for EMSers. Here goes:

After a tragic helicopter crash (is there any other kind?) it is common for the media to examine how air medical services are used (or abused). The recent Wisconsin crash is no different. The Capital Times from Madison, WI tackles the issue.

The Houston Fire Department has been authorized to begin a tele-nurses program to help reduce non-emergent use of ambulances. The Houston Chronicle tells this story.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has an article on increasing EMS response times. This pretty lame article is probably predictive of what others around the country will say--and won't say. The article compares response times to three somewhat non-comparable cities but fails to trend calls in Pittsburgh over time to see if volume is responsible for the mounting delays. (The Chief does say he is handling the "same number of calls" but it still leaves me wondering not only about the volume of calls but if there are changes in priorities of calls.) The EMS Chief says budget cuts in 2003 are responsible for the increase. It is important to note that the response time to highest priority calls has stayed the same. It sounds like an EMS audit is about to be released. This piece certainly doesn't take a critical look at the issues.

That's it for the news. Stay safe.