EMS

ESO Names Matt Walker Chief Operating Officer

JEMS - News - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:39

AUSTIN, Texas-- ESO Solutions, Inc., the leading data and software company serving emergency medical services (EMS), fire departments and hospitals, today announced the addition of Matt Walker as Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Walker will focus on the success of ESO's customers, attracting and retaining talent, acquisition integration as well as building out the processes and tools necessary to scale the business as it experiences rapid growth.

"Matt brings a level of insight, business acumen and leadership expertise that will be invaluable to ESO as we realize our ambitions and deliver on our mission and vision for the industry," said Chris Dillie, President and CEO of ESO. "Matt has a unique blend of operations and general management experience that makes him eminently qualified to help us capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities ahead of us. I am confident in Matt's ability to help us remain the market and innovation leader, scale our business and ensure our customers are successful."

Walker brings more than 25 years of experience helping businesses support their customers, scale their operations and deliver on their commitments. His accomplishments include improving business processes, leading and developing teams as well as the implementation of technology to enhance customer success. Most recently, he was the President, West Region, for Sharecare Health Data Services, a provider of secure electronic exchange, delivery and integration of Protected Health Information (PHI) to thousands of Healthcare Providers across the United States. Prior to Sharecare, Walker was the President, NIGP and Vendor Services, for Periscope Holdings. Walker holds an MBA in finance, marketing and health services management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University. 

"ESO has built an incredible portfolio of products that solves real-world problems for EMS agencies, fire departments and hospitals. We have the opportunity to partner with customers to greatly improve the health and safety of communities across the country," added Walker. "I'm honored to join this team and looking forward to what we can accomplish with the ESO team, our customers and partners, and the communities we serve."  

Categories: EMS

5 Ideas Win $10K Each in Ohio Opioid Science Challenge

JEMS - News - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 11:07

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Virtual reality, neural feedback and digital therapy were among five ideas to help solve the U.S. opioid crisis that won a global technology challenge in Ohio on Tuesday.

Winners were selected from hundreds of ideas submitted by researchers, caregivers, service providers and individuals from Ohio, other states and nine countries. Each will receive $10,000 to take their idea to the next phase.

The $8 million Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge is modeled after the Head Health competition launched by the NFL, Under Armour and GE to address traumatic brain injuries sustained playing football. It's part of a two-pronged strategy Ohio is pursuing the deadly epidemic tied to prescription painkillers. It has also awarded $10 million in research-and-development grants.

Besides the top prizes awarded to ideas with the highest likelihood of success, 40 runners-up — 20 civilians and 20 technical professionals or experts — will be entered into a drawing to win $500 cash prizes.

The efforts, spearheaded by Republican Gov. John Kasich, come in a state among the hardest hit by the deadly opioid epidemic. There were 4,050 overdose deaths in Ohio in 2016, many linked to heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Winner were:

— Judson Brewer (Worcester, Massachusetts): For a digital therapy centered on the psychological theory of mindfulness, which will extend ideas contained in his nationally-known Craving to Quit program to opioid addiction;

— Kinametechs LLC (Cincinnati, Ohio): For augmented reality-based interactive coaching system resembling glasses proposed by Yong Pei and the Kinametechs team that would use motion tracking to customize a surgical patient's physical rehabilitation routine one they arrive home from the hospital, reducing their demand for opioid painkillers. "It's like an expert sitting right in the glasses," Pei said in an interview.

— Lee Barrus (Oren, Utah): For an opioid risk assessment screening app suggested by Barrus and the team at InteraSolutions to identify patients with risk factors for opioid abuse. The idea is to enable medical professionals to flag at-risk patients earlier and direct them to alternatives to opioids for fighting pain.

Categories: EMS

No concept of time

EMScapades Cartoon - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:15
Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

Philadelphia's Safe Injection Site Plans Spark Questions

JEMS - News - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 11:03

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia wants to establish safe havens where people can inject drugs, an effort to combat skyrocketing opioid overdoses in the city.

They would be places where people could shoot up under the supervision of medical professionals who could administer an overdose antidote if necessary.

But there are more questions than answers on how it would work and what it would look like, and if it could even legally get up and running.

"We know from other centers that they save lives," Public Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in announcing the plans this week. "But it is complicated from a community perspective and it is complicated from a legal perspective."

A look at some questions and answers:

WHY IS THIS BEING CONSIDERED?

Philadelphia has the highest opioid death rate of any large U.S. city. More than 1,200 people fatally overdosed in Philadelphia in 2017, one-third more than 2016. This uptick follows the general surge in drug overdoses in the U.S. Nationally, deaths from drug overdoses skyrocketed 21 percent in 2016. The government figures released put 2016's drug deaths at over 63,000. Two-thirds of the drug deaths — about 42,000 — involved opioids, a category that includes heroin, methadone, prescription pain pills like OxyContin, and fentanyl.

___

HOW DID PHILADELPHIA END UP IN THIS POSITION?

People travel from across the country for Philadelphia's reputedly pure heroin. The center of the city's opioid crisis is the Kensington neighborhood — the poorest neighborhood in America's poorest big city. Empty factories there have created a prime locale for open-air drug markets and public transit and proximity to Interstate 95 allow buyers from outside the neighborhood easy access, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

___

WHAT'S THE NEXT STEP?

City officials will speak to organizations possibly interested in operating or funding such a facility and will engage with community members to hear their perspectives, said Ajeenah Amir, a spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney.

Categories: EMS

Ambulance Bombing in Afghanistan

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Sun, 01/28/2018 - 10:15

Categories: EMS

Ambulance Bomb at Afghan Checkpoint Kills 95; 158 Wounded

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Sat, 01/27/2018 - 13:09

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber driving an ambulance coasted through a security checkpoint in Afghanistan's capital on Saturday by telling police he was taking a patient to a nearby hospital and then detonated his explosives at a second checkpoint, killing at least 95 people and wounding 158 more in an attack claimed by the Taliban, authorities said.

The powerful explosion, which came a week after Taliban militants killed 22 people at an international hotel in the capital, Kabul, was felt throughout the city and covered the blast area in smoke and dust. Dozens of vehicles were damaged or destroyed, and several shops, including some selling antiques and photography equipment, were decimated.

Windows at the nearby Jamhuriat government hospital were shattered, and its walls were damaged. People ran out to help, and ambulances arrived to transport dozens of wounded people to hospitals.

The Interior Ministry said four suspects in the deadly bombing, which occurred near the European Union and Indian consulates, had been arrested and were being questioned, but it didn't elaborate.

"The majority of the dead in the attack are civilians, but of course we have military casualties as well," ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the bombing, which sent thick, black smoke into the sky from a site near the government's former Interior Ministry building.

It has been a month of relentless attacks across Afghanistan, with the Taliban and an Islamic State group affiliate making alternate claims of responsibility. The brutality and frequency of the attacks, including one in December at a Shiite cultural center, has shattered Afghanistan's usually quiet winter, when fighting normally slows down.

Categories: EMS

Ambulance Bomb at Afghan Checkpoint Kills 95; 158 Wounded

JEMS - News - Sat, 01/27/2018 - 13:09

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber driving an ambulance coasted through a security checkpoint in Afghanistan's capital on Saturday by telling police he was taking a patient to a nearby hospital and then detonated his explosives at a second checkpoint, killing at least 95 people and wounding 158 more in an attack claimed by the Taliban, authorities said.

The powerful explosion, which came a week after Taliban militants killed 22 people at an international hotel in the capital, Kabul, was felt throughout the city and covered the blast area in smoke and dust. Dozens of vehicles were damaged or destroyed, and several shops, including some selling antiques and photography equipment, were decimated.

Windows at the nearby Jamhuriat government hospital were shattered, and its walls were damaged. People ran out to help, and ambulances arrived to transport dozens of wounded people to hospitals.

The Interior Ministry said four suspects in the deadly bombing, which occurred near the European Union and Indian consulates, had been arrested and were being questioned, but it didn't elaborate.

"The majority of the dead in the attack are civilians, but of course we have military casualties as well," ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the bombing, which sent thick, black smoke into the sky from a site near the government's former Interior Ministry building.

It has been a month of relentless attacks across Afghanistan, with the Taliban and an Islamic State group affiliate making alternate claims of responsibility. The brutality and frequency of the attacks, including one in December at a Shiite cultural center, has shattered Afghanistan's usually quiet winter, when fighting normally slows down.

Categories: EMS

Choosing the Best Air Ambulance Medical Transportation Company: 10 tips that may help

JEMS - News - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 23:00
Choosing the best out of many can be a tedious task but is very important. Many factors go into deciding the best. Comparison on different standards can be daunting. Fortunately, AMB life makes it easier for you by providing you with a global portal containing both local and global ambulance providers along with their ancillaries. However, the task of picking the rightful one ultimately rests with you. There are few things that must be looked for while taking the above decision.  
  • Look for license and/or accreditation: An outdated aircraft is never desirable whatever be the costs and services offered. Furthermore, it’s very important that the ones who are licensed must be licensed from credible agencies. In India Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the authorizing body when it comes to air ambulance. Different countries have their own agencies.
  • Type of aircraft: Different medical conditions necessitate requirements of different aircrafts. While in some cases a helicopter will suffice, in other cases one might need an airplane as well.
  • Crew training and medical equipment: A good air ambulance provider is well-manned by staffs and technicians who are well-versed with different emergency procedures, in-flight care, etc. Also it’s important that they are certified by relevant health regulatory. DGCA lays down the guidelines regarding air ambulance crew training in India in conjunction with other medical agencies and institutes
  • Look for RVSM abilities: The patient’s safety and comfort is paramount when it comes to picking an air ambulance. The RVSM certification ensures these for long range transportations. For RVSM approvals, DGCA is the authorizing body.
  • Services offered: Usually, the ones providing both emergency and non-emergency services are deemed to be better. On AMB life it’s relatively easier to look for these services due to their cataloging at one place.
  • Bedside-to-bedside facility: The best companies usually provide patients with bedside-to-bedside facilities. This not only helps them with their comfort but is also an important factor in controlling cost by eliminating some hidden costs involved in ground transportation.
  • Spot the difference between a broker and an ambulance operator: While broker is one who is engaged in business of arranging air ambulance for you, operator is one who actually administers one and so is more accustomed to patient needs and technicalities. It’s advisable that you contact an operator rather than a broker
  • Insurance cover: The most reputed companies are generally covered by insurance covers. The insurance covers are of great help especially in cases where cost of treatment is already high. So always look for the companies which are under cover.
  • Read the fine print: The devil is in detail, it’s said. And rightly so. It’s always a good practice to read every small detail so as to avoid being trapped in some latent costs. Usually it’s suggested that while quoting prices always cost all-included costs.
  • Compare: It’s no-brainer to avoid comparing different companies on basis of services being offered and costs they might incur. While it’s little difficult doing this online as you may need to browse through many websites, you can do the same by visiting AMB life. There you can find services based on your location and this might ease your search
  • With the stakes so high, it’s important that you choose smart. Our endeavor remains to get you to this end.
Contact: AMB life is a B2B online platform that allows private ambulance service carriers around the globe to register their ambulance and other ancillary services on its platform. People can choose services based on country, state, city or even their own location. Both air ambulances as well ground ambulance can be booked based on their rating and review.
Categories: EMS

Flu Widespread Across US for Third Straight Week

JEMS - News - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:37

NEW YORK (AP) — Sick with the flu? You've got a lot of company.

The flu blanketed the U.S. again last week for the third straight week. Only Hawaii has been spared.

Last week, 1 in 15 doctor visits were for symptoms of the flu. That's the highest level since the swine flu pandemic in 2009. The government doesn't track every flu case but comes up with estimates; one measure is how many people seek medical care for fever, cough, aches and other flu symptoms.

Flu is widespread in every state except Hawaii, and 39 states reported high flu traffic for doctors last week, up from 32.

At this rate, by the end of the season somewhere around 34 million Americans will have gotten sick from the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Some good news: Hospital stays and deaths from the flu among the elderly so far haven't been as high as in some other recent flu seasons. However, hospitalization rates for people 50 to 64 — baby boomers, mostly — has been unusually high, CDC officials said in the report, which covers the week ending Jan. 20.

This year's flu shot targets the strains that are making Americans sick, mostly the H3N2 flu virus. But exactly how well it is working won't be known until next month. It's the same main bug from last winter, when the flu season wasn't so bad. It's not clear why this season — with the same bug — is worse, some experts said.

"That's the kicker. This virus really doesn't look that different from what we saw last year," said Richard Webby, a flu researcher at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

It may be that many of the people getting sick this year managed to avoid infection last year. Or there may be some change in the virus that hasn't been detected yet, said the CDC's Dr. Dan Jernigan, in a call with reporters Friday.

Based on patterns from past seasons, it's likely the flu season will start to wane soon, experts say. There are some places, like California, where the season already seems to be easing, CDC officials said.

Categories: EMS

Floodwaters Threaten Paris, Closing Roads, Tunnels, Cellars

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:12

PARIS (AP) — Parisians remained largely unfazed Friday as the Seine River continued to rise and approach peak levels.

The Paris region has been deeply affected by the floods that hit the country over the past week, but in the capital city, it was business as usual for the most part. The Seine will hit its peak soon, but without surpassing record levels, according to Vigicrues, the body in charge of monitoring flood levels.

The Seine reached 5.60 meters (more than 18 feet) Friday morning at the Austerlitz bridge in eastern Paris. It was expected to keep rising, reaching a peak of six meters (20 feet) over the weekend. That's under the 6.2 meters the Seine reached two years ago, and far below the levels reached during the 1910 Great Flood, when the Seine water rose to 8.62 meters (more than 28 feet).

While the 2016 floods led to the death of two people and left several injured in the Paris area, no victims have been recorded during the current episode of flooding.

Fabrice and his dog Largo use a dinghy boat to reach the banks of river Seine in Paris, Thursday, Jan.25, 2018. Rivers across France kept swelling as more rain hit the country Thursday, with 15 departments across the country remaining on alert for floods. In addition to Paris, where the Seine river is expected to keep rising until Saturday, the other regions threatened are in the north and east of the country. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Paris authorities have closed several tunnels, parks, and the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum as precautionary measures. Roads on the river banks have been closed, as well as seven train stations alongside the river, but the moves didn't cause major disruption in the City of Lights.

On a cold Friday morning, a small group of bystanders gathered at the Pont de l'Alma to admire and take pictures of the Seine's muddy waters. Just in front of the bridge close to the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed in a car crash stands the Zouave. It's a statue representing a soldier from the Crimean War, which is used by Parisians as a reference point to measure the Seine's level.

Categories: EMS

Floodwaters Threaten Paris, Closing Roads, Tunnels, Cellars

JEMS - News - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:12

PARIS (AP) — Parisians remained largely unfazed Friday as the Seine River continued to rise and approach peak levels.

The Paris region has been deeply affected by the floods that hit the country over the past week, but in the capital city, it was business as usual for the most part. The Seine will hit its peak soon, but without surpassing record levels, according to Vigicrues, the body in charge of monitoring flood levels.

The Seine reached 5.60 meters (more than 18 feet) Friday morning at the Austerlitz bridge in eastern Paris. It was expected to keep rising, reaching a peak of six meters (20 feet) over the weekend. That's under the 6.2 meters the Seine reached two years ago, and far below the levels reached during the 1910 Great Flood, when the Seine water rose to 8.62 meters (more than 28 feet).

While the 2016 floods led to the death of two people and left several injured in the Paris area, no victims have been recorded during the current episode of flooding.

Fabrice and his dog Largo use a dinghy boat to reach the banks of river Seine in Paris, Thursday, Jan.25, 2018. Rivers across France kept swelling as more rain hit the country Thursday, with 15 departments across the country remaining on alert for floods. In addition to Paris, where the Seine river is expected to keep rising until Saturday, the other regions threatened are in the north and east of the country. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Paris authorities have closed several tunnels, parks, and the bottom floor of the Louvre Museum as precautionary measures. Roads on the river banks have been closed, as well as seven train stations alongside the river, but the moves didn't cause major disruption in the City of Lights.

On a cold Friday morning, a small group of bystanders gathered at the Pont de l'Alma to admire and take pictures of the Seine's muddy waters. Just in front of the bridge close to the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed in a car crash stands the Zouave. It's a statue representing a soldier from the Crimean War, which is used by Parisians as a reference point to measure the Seine's level.

Categories: EMS

New National Standard Unifies Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response Plans

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:09

Las Vegas.  Orlando.  New York.  Boston.  Sandy Hook.  These are all names that need little description to many of us when it comes to recalling an “active shooter” or “hostile event” incident – where one person, or a group of people, decided that it was time to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible. 

But what about FreightCar America, Memorial Tire and Auto, or the Melbourne Square Mall?  Those were also places that had this type of incident occur within the last three years, but because of limited national airtime, might be incidents that you’ve never even heard about.  There, too, people died, and lives were changed forever – and the reality is that an incident can just as easily happen in your service area, no matter where you are.

All of us in public safety serve the same ultimate goal: the preservation of life, liberty, and property – in various orders of priority depending upon which uniform we wear and the circumstances of the call we’re on.  But for many years, despite these types of events occurring, most of our response planning for them took place primarily on a local or regional level, and with only the standard level of cooperation: namely, that each agency type came together and performed their individual roles independent of each other, with “handoff” of one to the other at appropriate points in the evolution of an incident.  The reality, however, is that the fluid nature of these incidents means that you're going to perform many roles, and with much more dynamic interchange with other agency types and the community, when they actually go down.

After the Pulse Nightclub shooting, Chief Otto Drozd of the Orange County Fire Department realized that the time had come for a national standard – eventually including the first national competency standards for law enforcement, as well as fire and EMS personnel and other related resources in the community – if we as a nation are ever to be as fully ready to not only respond to and contain these types of acts, but to recover and remain whole as a community afterwards.  In August of 2016, he submitted a proposal to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to establish the first consensus standard for cross-functional emergency preparedness and response to active shooter events.

Categories: EMS

Inside EMS Podcast: Discussing the most baffling EMS calls

FR1 and EMS Podcasts - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 09:09
Inside EMS Podcast: Discussing the most baffling EMS calls by FR1 and EMS1 Podcasts
Categories: EMS, Podcasts

CMC Marks 40th Anniversary with a Refreshed Brand, New Website, and Game-Changing 2018 Product Roadmap

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 23:00
CMC Rescue, the California-based company that’s dedicated to helping save lives and keeping people safe, today marked its 40th anniversary year with the introduction of a refreshed name, a new website and plans to introduce a series of groundbreaking products for both the rescue and rope access markets throughout 2018.

According to CEO Rich Phillips, CMC Rescue will go forward as CMC, a company rooted in rescue that is now equipped with a brand identity that accurately reflects the expanded range of its business, and its commitment to providing all work-at-height professionals with innovative life safety gear and training.

“CMC was founded as a rescue company with the broad mission to provide those working at height with innovative life safety gear and training to do their job safely and confidently,” stated Phillips. “Over the years, we’ve remained committed to innovating within the rescue market. However, as the work-at-height market has evolved to include other non-rescue disciplines, demand for our products pulled us into a number of new and growing vertical markets.”

Continued Phillips, “On CMC’s 40th anniversary year, we’re now updating our brand identity to best reflect who we are today and who we’ll continue to be tomorrow – a purpose-driven company that’s rooted in rescue yet forever committed to innovating within the field of life safety.”

CMC was founded in 1978 by Search & Rescue Technician Jim Frank, who identified a market need for more professional, specialized emergency rescue equipment. In the mid-90s, after nearly two decades innovating in the rescue market, CMC saw an opportunity to apply its rescue experience and expertise to an emerging work-at-height industry – Rope Access. In 1995, CMC cofounded SPRAT, the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians, which has developed into the industry’s foremost association for the advancement of rope access training and certification. Today, forty years after its founding, CMC stands as one of the most trusted, reliable, and innovative names in the rescue and rope access markets.
Categories: EMS

Train Derailment in Italy leaves 3 Dead, Several Injured

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 10:16

MILAN (AP) — A commuter train derailed Thursday in northern Italy, killing at least three people, seriously injuring 10 and trapping others heading into Milan at the start of the work day, officials said.

The Trenord train derailed near the Pioltello Limito station on the outskirts of the city, halting train traffic into and out of Italy's financial capital for hours. A piece of the track appeared broken, and officials said a wheel sustained damage as well, though the cause was under investigation.

At least two main cars from the middle of the train peeled off the rails but were still standing, albeit at an angle. Rescue crews gingerly climbed through the crushed sides of the cars trying to get to trapped passengers.

Prosecutors at the scene said at least three people were killed, 10 were seriously injured and dozens more slightly injured. The train was heading from Cremona, in eastern Lombardy, into Milan's Garibaldi station and suffered some sort of damage to a wheel about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from where the train came to a halt, said Umberto Debruto, who is in charge of the railway network in Italy.

Debruto told Sky TG24 that it wasn't clear "if that was the cause or the result" of the derailment.

Images of the track showed a chunk of one rail missing, but it wasn't clear what role it played.

Debruto said the train was travelling at the correct speed for that hour, on a high-speed line which was normal for that stretch of track, where there are two conventional rail lines and two high-speed lines. He denied any common cause between Thursday's derailment and a July 23 derailment outside the Pioltello station in which no one was injured.

Passengers reported feeling the car shake for a few minutes before hearing a big bang, and then feeling the car crush in on them.

Categories: EMS

Train Derailment in Italy leaves 3 Dead, Several Injured

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 10:16

MILAN (AP) — A commuter train derailed Thursday in northern Italy, killing at least three people, seriously injuring 10 and trapping others heading into Milan at the start of the work day, officials said.

The Trenord train derailed near the Pioltello Limito station on the outskirts of the city, halting train traffic into and out of Italy's financial capital for hours. A piece of the track appeared broken, and officials said a wheel sustained damage as well, though the cause was under investigation.

At least two main cars from the middle of the train peeled off the rails but were still standing, albeit at an angle. Rescue crews gingerly climbed through the crushed sides of the cars trying to get to trapped passengers.

Prosecutors at the scene said at least three people were killed, 10 were seriously injured and dozens more slightly injured. The train was heading from Cremona, in eastern Lombardy, into Milan's Garibaldi station and suffered some sort of damage to a wheel about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from where the train came to a halt, said Umberto Debruto, who is in charge of the railway network in Italy.

Debruto told Sky TG24 that it wasn't clear "if that was the cause or the result" of the derailment.

Images of the track showed a chunk of one rail missing, but it wasn't clear what role it played.

Debruto said the train was travelling at the correct speed for that hour, on a high-speed line which was normal for that stretch of track, where there are two conventional rail lines and two high-speed lines. He denied any common cause between Thursday's derailment and a July 23 derailment outside the Pioltello station in which no one was injured.

Passengers reported feeling the car shake for a few minutes before hearing a big bang, and then feeling the car crush in on them.

Categories: EMS

Train Derailment in Italy

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Thu, 01/25/2018 - 10:13

Categories: EMS

Study Confirms Flu Increases Risk of Heart Attack in Elderly

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 18:38

NEW YORK (AP) — As if the flu wasn't bad enough already: Researchers have confirmed that flu sharply increases the risk of heart attack for older people.

Doctors have long known that flu can trigger heart problems. It's one of the reasons flu shots are recommended for nearly everyone.

A new Canadian study found that risk was six times higher in the first week after flu is diagnosed, compared to the year before and after the bug hits. Unlike previous studies, the researchers used lab tests to make sure people suspected of having the flu really did.

"It's a much more rigorous study that allows us to make a much more specific link between flu infection and heart issues," said Richard Webby, a prominent flu researcher at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. He was not involved in the research.

Results were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers reviewed more than five years of hospital and lab records in Ontario. They found 332 mostly elderly people who had a positive flu test and had suffered a heart attack within a year. There was one strong pattern: 20 had a heart attack within a week of getting the flu. Six died.

"The increased risk was only in that first week," said lead author Dr. Jeffrey Kwong of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.

How does flu — a respiratory ailment with a fever, cough and aches — trigger a heart attack?

Flu can cause swelling or inflammation in the coronary arteries, which can shake loose plaque and cause blockages, cutting off blood flow.

"That's the main culprit," said Dr. Mohammad Madjid, a cardiologist and flu researcher at Houston's University of Texas Health Science Center.

Adding to that is the strain that flu and other viral infections place on already-weakened hearts. Lung infections make it harder for people to breathe, so the heart has to pump harder to get oxygenated blood out to every part of the body.

Categories: EMS

Federal Agencies Investigate Tesla "Autopilot" Crash

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/24/2018 - 18:22

DETROIT (AP) — Two federal agencies have dispatched teams to investigate the California crash of a Tesla Model S electric car that may have been operating under its semi-autonomous "Autopilot" system.

It's the second time the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have investigated the performance of Autopilot, which keeps a vehicle centered in its lane at a set distance from cars in front of it and also can change lanes and brake automatically.

The safety board sent two investigators to Culver City on Tuesday, according to spokesman Peter Knudson, while NHTSA confirmed Wednesday that it is also dispatching a special team "to investigate the crash and assess lessons learned."

Neither agency would comment further, but it's likely they both will seek information about whether Autopilot was on and if its sensors somehow failed to see a stopped firetruck Monday on Interstate 405 in Culver City near Los Angeles.

The NTSB said on Twitter that investigators will focus on driver and vehicle factors.

The Tesla driver told the California Highway Patrol that he had activated Autopilot before the crash, but the highway patrol said in a news release that it was unable to verify the driver's statement at this time. The crash remains under investigation, the highway patrol said.

The NTSB in September determined that design limitations of the Tesla Model S Autopilot played a major role in a May 2016 fatal crash in Florida involving a vehicle operating under Autopilot. But it blamed the crash on an inattentive Tesla driver's overreliance on technology and a truck driver who made a left turn in front of the car.

The California investigation comes as Congress and federal agencies grapple with how to regulate autonomous vehicles and those with systems that are partially self-driving. The systems can significantly reduce crashes, but computer-driven vehicles also can make mistakes.

Categories: EMS

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