Posts made in November, 2015


Does the response time in medical emergencies significantly affect mortality? Studies show that the response time in medical emergencies, including motor accidents, does indeed have an impact on mortality and in life threatening situations. The lower the response time, the higher the chance of saving the patient.

Although the response time is usually lower in emergencies featuring cardiac arrests, there is no doubt that fast response times matter in other emergency cases as well. There have been several technological advances created for decreasing response time in medical emergencies, as well as preventing those emergencies.

Call to Shock Time

According to an article on the Huffington Post, the average response time to get to a building on fire in New York City is 4 minutes and 12 seconds, while the response time for a life threatening emergency in the same city is 6 minutes and 17 seconds. However it is generally acknowledged that these are merely official response times, and that the actual response time is usually much more in most cities in the US, including Los Angeles. Each year, several lives are lost which could have been saved if emergency services had gotten to the scene on time. As a result of this, many cities are now deploying technology to save lives. One such city is Rochester, Minnesota. Rochester has issued defibrillators and the appropriate training on how to use these devices to police officers. They have placed a high emergency on those who suffer from cardiac arrest. If there is an emergency, an alert goes out to every officer all over the city. This has been met with incredible success.  With patients who suffer from cardiac arrest, every second matters.

Preventive Technology

Every year, more than 30 thousand people die from automobile accidents in the US. Teens form a large percentage of this number. To that effect, there are now several companies using technology to diminish the number of teen mortality in automobile accidents. The strategy is a preventive one. Through apps and virtual technology, parents can now keep tab on their teen’s driving habits. Beyond that, car manufacturers are beginning to include systems on their vehicles which provide parental controls. Taking it a step further, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been working on an automatic breaking technology. These preventative measures could potentially save lives.

Mobile and Cloud Technology

Data is an integral part of efficient medical emergency response and law enforcement firms are harnessing the potential of mobile and cloud technology to make the sharing of data between emergency response teams seamless. This has always been a problem for emergency response teams. Having access to a platform that is web based and can be shared seamlessly across mobile devices is expected to significantly diminish response times.

 

Word of Caution

As with anything that is newly emerging, there may be faults with the application. These technologies are relatively new, so use caution. Keep in mind that a glitch in a hospital’s electronic health records can result in major medical errors, as stated by Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys. Be sure to always communicate your medical information to the appropriate personnel when receiving care. Carrying important medical information in a hardcopy can also be useful.

Many more technologies are emerging which make use of mobile and cloud technologies to improve response times. If mortality can be affected by a delay of mere seconds, the importance of improving response time in medical emergencies cannot be overemphasized.

Have you been in a medical emergency where help took too long to arrive?

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Delirium in Hospitals

Delirium in Hospitals


Posted By on Nov 10, 2015

Delirium is harrowing condition characterized by hallucinations and confusion. Delirium sufferers can experience vivid waking nightmares, which can appear without warning and last weeks. Hospital delirium is scary. Hospitalized patients are already in weakened states, and hospitals contain a huge number of hazards for people who are in a confused state.

 

Luckily, medical professionals, families, and journalists have been raising awareness about this strange and nightmarish condition. Several articles have lately pointed to the acute dangers presented by delirium appearing in already hospitalized patients. Medical professionals are still not entirely sure about the causes of or solutions to hospital delirium, but they and the care teams of patients are discussing the big relevant issues and trying to identify solutions.

What is Delirium?

First, delirium is not the same thing as dementia. Delirium can come and come, and it is generally less predictable than dementia. The two can be present together, and ruling out delirium is an important step in identifying dementia. Delirium patients frequently recover fully, so the distinction is an important one.  

 

Delirium is often preventable but is regularly missed or misdiagnosed (research suggests it can be missed in up to half of all cases). Part of the reason delirium is so often missed is because its symptoms can include things present in other conditions. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), these symptoms can include:

  • hallucinations
  • exhaustion and disrupted sleep  
  • memory loss
  • trouble completing normal tasks like going to the bathroom
  • mood swings

Many of these symptoms will look familiar to anyone who has dealt with dementia. Even trained physicians miss it. Unlike dementia, though, delirium can often be stopped (dementia is usually permanent and degenerative). Delirium is often directly related to medications, and taking a patient off these medications can make the problem vanish.

Why Does Delirium Occur in Hospitals?

Delirium hits hospital patients most often when they’ve been sedated (in fact, some doctors refer to the condition as “ICU psychosis”). The sedatives which medical professionals use to numb patients during highly stressful and invasive operations—ostensibly to keep patients’ emotions safe—appear to be associated with delirium. Additionally, the intense stress that comes with an operation, and the unfamiliar location of the hospital, can put patients at risk of developing the condition.

 

Hospital delirium is a common occurrence, affecting 7 million patients every year, according to an article which ran this summer in the Atlantic. If one of your loved ones is sedated during an operation, monitor her or him for any sign of delirium. Don’t write off strange behavior as simply the normal reaction of an elderly person to stress. Additionally, don’t assume someone who acts strangely around the same time as their surgery is developing dementia. Remember how frequently delirium diagnoses are missed.   

 

Keep an eye on any hospitalized loved ones you suspect may be suffering from delirium. Hospitals are not good places to wander around confused in. Medical equipment can be dangerous when misused. Moreover, hospitals can be cold and frightening to a person suffering from hallucinations and confusion. Stress will not help someone with delirium, and may even prolong the effects.

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