• The feasibility of paramedics delivering antibiotic treatment pre-hospital to ‘red flag’ sepsis patients: a service evaluation

      Chippendale, Jonathan; Lloyd, Adele; Payne, Tanya; Dunmore, Sally; Stoddart, Bethan (2018-03)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: Sepsis is associated with a 36% mortality rate, rising to 50% for septic shock. Currently, when an East Midlands Ambulance Service clinician recognises ‘red flag’ sepsis, only the oxygen and fluid elements of the ‘Sepsis Six’ care bundle are delivered, omitting the antibiotic therapy. For a patient in septic shock, every hour’s delay in antibiotic therapy is associated with a 7.6% increase in mortality. Ambulance clinicians are therefore appropriately placed to assess and commence treatment at the earliest point of recognition. The aim of this evaluation was to assess the feasibility of training paramedics to recognise ‘red flag’ sepsis, obtain blood cultures and administer a broad spectrum antibiotic, meropenem, to patients in the pre-hospital environment. Methods: A prospective six-month feasibility pilot evaluation was conducted in May 2016. Paramedics were trained and given access to a broad spectrum antibiotic, meropenem, along with a patient group direction to administer the antibiotic to ‘red flag’ sepsis patients. Training included sepsis recognition, taking of blood cultures and patient group direction compliance. Results: Twenty paramedics volunteered and successfully completed the training. Of the 113 patients that were identified as ‘red flag’ sepsis, 107 (94.6%) were confirmed as infected by the receiving hospital. Ninety-eight blood samples were successfully drawn by study paramedics, with only seven (7.1%) reported as contaminated samples, compared with 8.5% of samples taken by staff in the receiving ED during the same time period. Ninety patients (80%) assessed by paramedics as meeting the criteria were treated with meropenem, and patient group direction compliance was 100%. Conclusion: Paramedics can safely deliver pre-hospital antibiotics to patients with ‘red flag’ sepsis and obtain blood cultures prior to administration, with a contamination rate comparable with local hospitals, following a short training course.
    • Unexpected shock in a fallen older adult: a case report

      Matthews, Gary; Booth, Helen; Whitley, Gregory (2020-06-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Introduction: Falls are common in older adults and frequently require ambulance service assistance. They are the most frequent cause of injury and associated morbidity and mortality in older adults. In recent years, the typical major trauma patient has changed from being young and male to being older in age, with falls of < 2 metres being the most common mechanism of injury. We present a case of an 84-year-old male who had fallen in his home. This case highlights the complex nature of a relatively common incident. Case presentation: The patient was laid on the floor in the prone position unable to move for 12 hours. He did not complain of any pain in his neck, back, hips or legs, and wished to be lifted off the floor promptly. On examination, he had bruising to his chest and abdomen and had suffered a suspected cervical spine injury due to a step-like protrusion around C5–C6. Distal sensory and motor function was intact. While in the ambulance his blood pressure dropped from 154/119 mmHg to 49/28 mmHg unexpectedly. We successfully reversed the shock using the modified Trendelenburg position and intravenous fluids. On follow-up he was diagnosed with dislocated C3, C6 and C7 vertebrae. Conclusion: The unexpected episode of shock witnessed in this patient may have been caused by a number of phenomena, including but not limited to crush syndrome, spinal cord concussion and orthostatic hypotension. We recommend that clinicians anticipate sudden shock in older adult patients who have fallen and a) have remained static on the floor for an extended period of time or b) are suspected of a spinal injury. We recommend assertive management of these patients to mitigate the impact of shock through postural positioning and consideration of early cannulation.
    • What are the predictors, barriers and facilitators to effective management of acute pain in children by ambulance services? A mixed-methods systematic review protocol

      Whitley, Gregory; Siriwardena, Aloysius; Hemingway, Pippa; Law, Graham Richard (2018-09)
      Abstract published with permission. Introduction: The management of pain is complex, especially in children, as age, developmental level, cognitive and communication skills and associated beliefs must be considered. Without effective pain treatment, children may suffer long-term changes in stress hormone responses and pain perception and are at risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder. Pre-hospital analgesic treatment of injured children is suboptimal, with very few children in pain receiving analgesia. The aim of this review is to identify predictors, barriers and facilitators to effective management of acute pain in children by ambulance services. Methods: A mixed-methods approach has been adopted due to the research question lending itself to qualitative and quantitative inquiry. The segregated methodology will be used where quantitative and qualitative papers are synthesised separately, followed by mixed-methods synthesis (meta-integration). We will search from inception: MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsycINFO via EBSCOHost, EMBASE via Ovid SP, Web of Science and Scopus. The Cochrane Library, the Joanna Briggs Institute, PROSPERO, ISRCTN and ClinicalTrials.gov will be searched. We will include empirical qualitative and quantitative studies. We will exclude animal studies, reviews, audits, service evaluations, simulated studies, letters, Best Evidence Topics, case studies, self-efficacy studies, comments and abstracts. Two authors will perform full screening and selection, data extraction and quality assessment. GRADE and CERQual will determine the confidence in cumulative evidence. Discussion: If confidence in the cumulative evidence is deemed Moderate, Low or Very Low, then this review will inform the development of a novel mixed-methods sequential explanatory study which aims to comprehensively identify predictors, barriers and facilitators to effective pain management of acute pain in children within ambulance services. Future research will be discussed among authors if confidence is deemed High.