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Updated: 23 min 38 sec ago

Lawsuits Filed in Vegas Shooting

6 hours 51 min ago

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Attorneys who filed one of the first lawsuits after the Oct. 1 mass shooting that killed 58 concert-goers and left hundreds injured on the Las Vegas Strip filed four new negligence cases Monday on behalf of more than 450 victims.

This time, however, Houston-based lawyers Chad Pinkerton and Mo Aziz filed the cases in Los Angeles against companies including MGM Resorts International, the corporate owner of both the Mandalay Bay resort and the Route 91 Harvest Festival concert venue.

Pinkerton said the intent was to get the cases before a jury less likely to be influenced by the size and clout of a casino company that is both an active political contributor in Nevada and the largest employer in the state.

"Los Angeles is a better venue for fairness for our clients," Pinkerton said in a telephone interview ahead of a news conference announcing the filing of two wrongful death lawsuits, a third case stemming from a woman's head wound and a fourth on behalf of 450 people claiming injuries in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

"There would be certain advantages for MGM to defend its case in Nevada," Pinkerton said, adding that a jury in MGM Resorts' hometown might include people with direct or indirect ties to the company and its more than 70,000 employees.

The company has said through representatives it won't litigate shooting lawsuits in the media. In statements, it has blamed the massacre on the gunman, Stephen Paddock.

Defendants in the new lawsuits also include Live Nation Entertainment, the concert promoter. In a statement, the Beverly Hills, California-based company expressed sorrow for "countless people forever impacted by this senseless act of violence" and said it was cooperating with an active FBI investigation. It declined to comment about the lawsuits.

Categories: EMS

3 Dead After Medical Helicopter Crash in Eastern Arkansas

6 hours 56 min ago

DEWITT, Ark. (AP) — A pilot and two medical personnel were killed when a medical helicopter that was flying to a hospital in eastern Arkansas crashed in a rural area Sunday night. No patients were on board at the time.

The cause of the crash is not yet known but federal agencies are investigating. Arkansas County Sheriff Todd Wright said a witness saw the helicopter spiral out of the sky about 7:55 p.m. Sunday, disturbing thousands of geese to the point that "they were louder than she had ever heard before."

The helicopter crashed on a levee adjacent to Hampton Reservoir near Lodge Corner in Arkansas County, 52 miles (84 kilometers) southeast of Little Rock. Wright said Monday that the helicopter's tail section was the only portion of the aircraft that did not burn.

Pafford Air One identified the victims as 46-year-old pilot Michael Bollen of Hot Springs; 61-year-old flight nurse James Lawson Spruiell of Sulligent, Alabama; and 26-year-old flight paramedic John Auld III, who went by the nickname Trey, of Shreveport, Louisiana. Pafford Air One says the helicopter had been flying from Pine Bluff to a hospital in Helena-West Helena.

"We are all devastated and profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of these valued EMS colleagues and friends. We will continue to try and comfort the crew's families as well as everyone in our employ," said Pafford Air One Director Dustin Ross.

Spruiell and Auld worked for Pafford Air One, which provides emergency transport in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Bollen was a pilot for Air Methods Corp.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation into the crash.

FAA records show that Bollen, the pilot, had a clean record with no history of accidents or enforcement actions. According to an agency database, Bollen had also been certified as a flight instructor. The database also shows no previous accidents or incidents involving the Bell 407 helicopter.

Categories: EMS

Four Residents Still Missing in Pa. Senior Center Fire

7 hours 2 min ago

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Four people are missing and presumed dead following last week's fire at a Pennsylvania senior living community.

The massive blaze tore through Barclay Friends Senior Living Community in West Chester late Thursday, injuring more than two-dozen people and displacing 133 residents. The cause is still unknown.

Officials previously had suggested that not all the residents had made it out alive, but they didn't reveal the number of missing until Monday afternoon. A husband and wife as well as two other elderly women hadn't been found "and we aren't expecting good news," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said.

Investigators will start sorting through the remains of the burnt-out building with heavy machinery, officials said.

Eight people were still hospitalized Monday, authorities said, and scores of residents have been relocated to surrounding facilities.

Many residents were pushed from the complex in wheelchairs or rolled out on their beds into overnight temperatures that dipped into the low 40s as strong winds fanned flames that engulfed sections of the building within minutes.

More than 400 emergency personnel responded to the fire. The heat was so intense that one firefighter battling the blaze discovered his helmet was melting. Dozens of neighbors also helped during the rescue effort, wrapping residents in blankets and ferrying them to ambulances using makeshift gurneys.

Volunteers collected clothing and supplies for the residents over the weekend. Organizers said the support was so overwhelming they couldn't accept any more items.

Categories: EMS

New Analysis Estimates Cost of the Opioid Epidemic Tops $500 billion

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 10:09

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says the true cost of the opioid drug epidemic in 2015 was $504 billion, or roughly half a trillion dollars.

In an analysis to be released Monday, the Council of Economic Advisers says the figure is more than six times larger than the most recent estimate. The council said a 2016 private study estimated that prescription opioid overdoes, abuse and dependence in the U.S. in 2013 cost $78.5 billion. Most of that was attributed to health care and criminal justice spending, along with lost productivity.

The council said its estimate is significantly larger because the epidemic has worsened, with overdose deaths doubling in the past decade, and that some previous studies didn't reflect the number of fatalities blamed on opioids, a powerful but addictive category of painkillers.

The council also noted that previous studies had focused exclusively on prescription opioids, while its study also factors in illicit opioids, including heroin.

"Previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly underestimate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss — fatalities resulting from overdoses," said the report, which the White House released Sunday night.

Last month at the White House, President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a national public health emergency. Trump announced an advertising campaign to combat what he said is the worst drug crisis in the nation's history, but he did not direct any new federal funding toward the effort.

Trump's declaration stopped short of the emergency declaration that had been sought by a federal commission the president created to study the problem. An interim report by the commission argued for an emergency declaration, saying it would free additional money and resources.

But in its final report earlier this month, the panel called only for more drug courts, more training for doctors and penalties for insurers that dodge covering addiction treatment. It did not call for new money to address the epidemic.

Categories: EMS

Regional Operational Restructuring to Position Priority Ambulance for Continued Growth

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 22:17

In 2017, Priority Ambulance’s national family of companies more than doubled in size now serving more than 350,000 patients annually and expanded its footprint to include a nine-state network. To position the company for continued growth in 2018 and beyond, the company today announced a restructuring of its operational team that would transfer operational oversight to newly-created Regional Presidents and strengthen support from its national team.

“Priority has enjoyed exponential growth since we began our operations in 2014,” said CEO Bryan Gibson. “We are now the third largest national ambulance company. It’s incredible what our team has been able to accomplish in nearly four years, and we have tremendous momentum with new contracts and acquisitions completed and on the horizon for 2018.

“As our family of companies grows and matures, a centralized operating structure is no longer the best strategic fit.  By creating a new regional leadership structure, we can better serve our local operations and stay true to our mission of ‘Our Community. Our Priority.’ As we continue to grow, this restructuring ensures operational decisions are made efficiently, close to the customer, by those who live in the communities they affect.”

The four new Regional Presidents will be charged with managing day-to-day operations of the current and future Priority Ambulance family of companies. The family of companies will be divided into the following regions:

  • Northeast Division, which currently includes Seals Ambulance in Central Indiana, Kunkel Ambulance and Trans Am Ambulance in Upstate New York
  • MidSouth Division, which currently includes Shoals Ambulance in Northwest and Central Alabama, Medshore Ambulance in South Carolina, and Baptist Ambulance in West Tennessee and Mississippi.
  • Southeast Division, which currently includes Central EMS in Georgia, Puckett EMS in Georgia and Southeast Tennessee and Priority Ambulance of East Tennessee in the greater Knoxville metro area.
  • West Division, which currently includes Maricopa Ambulance in Arizona.

As new acquisitions and contracts are executed, the service areas will be added to the divisions that geographically correspond.

Categories: EMS

Neighbors Rush to Help During Massive Fire at Pa. Senior Living Center

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:54

Dozens of neighbors rushed to the scene of a massive late-night fire that injured at least 20 people at a Pennsylvania senior living community, wrapping the elderly in blankets and carrying them to ambulances in makeshift gurneys.

Larry Kingsland, 62, said Friday he and scores of people who live around the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community ferried elderly residents to medics as firefighters rescued them from the blaze.

"Everyone saw how devastating the fire was and we all had the same reaction: that people needed help," he said of the Thursday night inferno in West Chester, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of Philadelphia. "The whole neighborhood was helping."

Firefighters were still dousing smoldering hot spots on what remains of the building late Friday morning. The fire was declared under control just before 1:30 a.m. An investigation into what caused the blaze is underway, a town fire chief said.

The fire quickly spread to multiple buildings, engulfing sections within minutes; flames could be seen shooting from the roofs and windows of the structures.

Many of the residents were pushed in wheelchairs or rolled on beds to safety, said Dina Ciccarone, another neighbor who helped move people away from the fire and into safety. In some cases, she said, people used blankets as makeshift gurneys to assist in the rescue effort.

"Most of them could not walk," the 37-year-old Ciccarone said. "Some were lying on the ground, we were just bundling them up."

News helicopter coverage showed dozens of residents on the lawn or along the street, wrapped in blankets as overnight temperatures dipped into the low 40s. Elderly residents were loaded onto school busses early Friday and taken to nearby hospitals, witnesses said.

Chester County emergency officials said at least 20 people were taken to area hospitals for treatment. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

Categories: EMS

Floods in Athens Leave At Least 15 Dead, Communities Devastated

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 09:53

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Residents of the western fringes of the Greek capital struggled Thursday to clean up the devastation caused by flash floods that killed at least 15 people, while rescue crews searched for five people who remained missing.

The hardest hit area was Mandra, a modest working-class district on the western outskirts of the Greek capital, where nearly all the fatalities occurred. Authorities said about 500 homes and businesses were damaged.

Wednesday's flash floods, which came after a severe overnight storm, turned streets into raging torrents of mud and debris that carried away vehicles, collapsed walls and submerged a section of a major highway.

"There is huge damage. Inestimable damage," Mandra Mayor Ioanna Kriekouki told local media.

The disaster was among the worst to have hit the Greek capital in decades, and the government declared a day of national mourning.

Two men who had been reported missing were found alive, while rescue crews continued search operations for another five people still listed as missing on Thursday afternoon.

Twelve of the 23 injured remained hospitalized, including an 82-year-old woman listed as being in serious condition in an intensive care unit, the National Health Operations Center said.

Cars lay piled on top of each other or flung against buildings after being carried away by the torrents sweeping through the area's streets. Some houses and businesses saw outer walls collapse, leaving the interior exposed to the elements. Rubble, twisted metal and smashed vehicles lined the roads.

"As you can see, everything is a mess," said local resident Katerina Sideri.

More storms lashed the Greek capital on Thursday, temporarily severing traffic on one of Athens' main central avenues, although they did not cause severe flash floods comparable to the previous day.

Local municipalities were providing hotel rooms for those left homeless, while the Merchant Marine Ministry said it was making arrangements for a cruise ship to dock on the coast near the affected area to provide temporary accommodation. It also said arrangements were being made with the army and navy to provide water tankers to transport clean water to residents.

Categories: EMS

AMR Las Vegas, MedicWest to Offer Free Ambulance Transportation to Bring Patients Home For The Holidays

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 21:58

Las Vegas, NV — Employees with American Medical Response (AMR) and MedicWest Ambulance (MWA), plan to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas helping provide free rides to at least 40 patients in assisted living facilities to transport them to their loved ones.

“We get called on someone’s worst day, so we are delighted to help the community by bringing cheer to families during the holidays,” said Damon Schilling, Government Affairs Director of American Medical Response. “Our Home for the Holidays program gives new meaning to delivering holiday cheer.”

AMR/MWA is offering the service to up to 20 patients from a rehabilitation center, nursing, or assisted living facility on each holiday — Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Mileage is limited and patients will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Home for the Holidays”, now in its 30th year in Las Vegas, has transported more than 1,200 patients for free. These patients would otherwise be unable to make it home for the holidays. The average patient charge is $1,100 per round-trip transport; this amount will be waived for this program. Last month the companies announced victims of 1 October would not be charged for medical transportation.

Eligibility:

  • Eligible parties must reside in a rehabilitation center, nursing, or assisted living facility, have clearance from the facility to leave and do not require constant medical care.
  • Interested parties or their family members should reach out to their director or administrator at any one of the following skilled nursing facilities, hospices and assisted living facilities locations in Southern Nevada: Spanish Hills Wellness Suites, The Heights at Summerlin, Mountain’s Edge Hospital, Las Ventanas at Summerlin, Kindred Sahara, Kindred Spring Valley, Canyon Vista Post-Acute, Care Meridian Buffalo, Care Meridian, Desert Lane Care Center, Silver Ridge, Kindred Hospital – Flamingo, Horizon Specialty Hospital of Las Vegas and Horizon Specialty Hospital of Henderson.

Nomination:

Categories: EMS

Opioid Addiction Treatments Face Off in US Trial

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:47

CHICAGO (AP) — The first U.S. study to compare two treatments for opioid addiction finds a monthly shot works as well as a daily drug to prevent relapse.

The shot requires days of detox first and that proved to be a stumbling block for many. For those who made it past that hurdle, the shot Vivitrol worked about the same as an older treatment, Suboxone.

Both drugs had high relapse rates and there were overdoses, including fatal ones, in the experiment in 570 adults. The study , published Tuesday in the journal Lancet, is the first to compare the two drugs in the United States, where an opioid addiction epidemic has doctors and policymakers deeply divided over treatment strategies.

Many addiction treatment programs don't offer either medication, or only one of them.

"Let's not keep arguing about the exact batting averages of these two things," and make them more available, said study co-author Dr. Joshua Lee of New York University School of Medicine.

President Donald Trump recently declared the crisis a national public health emergency. Overdoses, most involving prescription painkillers and other opioids, killed 64,000 people in the United States last year.

"Addiction medicine physicians are hungry to get data, especially from head-to-head comparisons like this one," said Dr. Joseph Garbely of Pennsylvania-based Caron Treatment Centers, who wasn't involved in the research.

A smaller Norwegian study, published last month, also found the two medications work equally well.

The new study recruited users of heroin and pain pills from eight detox centers across the United States. Half were assigned to get monthly shots of Vivitrol, which contains extended-release naltrexone. The others got daily Suboxone, a buprenorphine-naloxone combo in a film that dissolves under the tongue.

Categories: EMS

Rescue Efforts Continue in Athens Outskirts after Massive Flash Flooding

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:23

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Flash floods turned roads into raging torrents of mud and debris on the fringes of Greece's capital Wednesday, killing at least 14 people, inundating homes and businesses and knocking out a section of a major highway.

There were fears the death toll could rise further as rescue crews searched for potentially missing people in flooded homes and streets on the western outskirts of Athens.

The flooding came after a severe overnight storm brought driving rain to the area. Roads turned into muddy rivers that carried away vehicles, tossing them into piles on roadsides and against fences and buildings. Several walls from yards and low buildings collapsed, filling the streets with rubble.

Twelve of the people killed — four women and eight men — were found in or near Mandra, a small town on the western outskirts of Athens that was hardest-hit by the flood. The coast guard recovered the bodies of two more men believed to have been swept out to sea by the flood.

Floodwater carrying debris charged toward the coast, sinking fishing boats in a small harbor. Several people were being treated in a hospital for various injuries, including hypothermia.

The fire department said it had received more than 600 calls for help pumping water out of buildings and had rescued 86 people trapped in vehicles and homes. It said it had deployed 190 firefighters with 55 vehicles. All fire services across the wider Athens area had been put on alert as more bad weather was forecast for the area Wednesday night.

A section of the highway between Athens and Corinth was completely knocked out, with cars, trucks and buses trapped in an inundated underpass.

Judicial authorities ordered an immediate investigation into the deaths and material damage. Investigators would be looking into whether factors such as shoddy or illegal construction might have contributed to the severity of the flooding.

Local authorities shut schools in the areas of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, while the fire department appealed to the public to avoid the area unless absolutely necessary in an effort to reduce traffic.

Categories: EMS

Powerful Quake on Iran-Iraq Border Leaves Over 400 Dead

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 09:02

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake near the Iraq-Iran border killed over 400 people across both countries, sent residents fleeing their homes into the night and was felt as far away as the Mediterranean coast, authorities said Monday.

Iran's western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the temblor Sunday night, with authorities saying the quake killed 407 people in the country and injured 6,700. Kermanshah is a rural, mountainous region where residents rely mainly on farming.

In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535, all in the country's northern Kurdish region, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry.

The quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people began retiring for the night.

It could be felt on the Mediterranean coast, some 660 miles (1,000 kilometers) away.

The earthquake struck 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles) below the surface, a shallow depth that can amplify damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes can be highly destructive.

Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes. More than 100 aftershocks followed.

The quake's worst damage appeared to be in the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, said she fled empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed. "Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed," Fard said. "I have no access to my belongings."

Reza Mohammadi, 51, said he and his family ran out into the alley after the first shock. "I tried to get back to pick up some stuff but it totally collapsed in the second wave," Mohammadi said.

Sarpol-e-Zahab residents said the power and water were out and telephone and cellphone lines were spotty.

Categories: EMS

the california association of air medical services (cal-aams) is offering continued training and education for the air medical and critical care transport communities.

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 23:00
Starting on November 13, 2017 at Morongo Casino Resort, and again on November 15, 2017, at The Aerospace Museum of California, this years theme, “UNTIED WE STAND“ Safety Summit is Free to attend to all air medical and critical care transport providers.

All other EMS providers such as; law enforcement, fire, search and rescue, and any other EMS ground responders who are also encouraged to attend. This years trainings will focus on team work and safety for patient, crew and ground personnel through out the flight and mission. Contact:Cal-AAMS | “UNITED WE STAND” Safety Summit 2017
Contact: Temple Fletcher,
Cal-AAMS Safety Summit Coordinator
775. 691.2323
tfletcher@remsa-cf.com Email:tfletcher@remsa-cf.com Web site:http:www.calaams.org
Categories: EMS

Study Suggests Women Less Likely to Get CPR From Bystanders

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 08:52

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Women are less likely than men to get CPR from a bystander and more likely to die, a new study suggests, and researchers think reluctance to touch a woman's chest might be one reason.

Only 39 percent of women suffering cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR versus 45 percent of men, and men were 23 percent more likely to survive, the study found.

It involved nearly 20,000 cases around the country and is the first to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from the public versus  professional responders.

"It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman's chest" and some people may fear they are hurting her, said Audrey Blewer, a University of Pennsylvania researcher who led the study.

Rescuers also may worry about moving a woman's clothing to get better access, or touching breasts to do CPR, but doing it properly "shouldn't entail that," said another study leader, U Penn's Dr. Benjamin Abella. "You put your hands on the sternum, which is the middle of the chest. In theory, you're touching in between the breasts."

The study was discussed Sunday at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping, usually because of a rhythm problem. More than 350,000 Americans each year suffer one in settings other than a hospital. About 90 percent of them die, but CPR can double or triple survival odds.

"This is not a time to be squeamish because it's a life and death situation," Abella said.

Researchers had no information on rescuers or why they may have been less likely to help women. But no gender difference was seen in CPR rates for people who were stricken at home, where a rescuer is more likely to know the person needing help.

The findings suggest that CPR training may need to be improved. Even that may be subtly biased toward males — practice mannequins (they're not called "woman-nequins") are usually male torsos, Blewer said.

Categories: EMS

Puckett EMS Personnel Honored with Public Safety Appreciation Award by South Cobb Area Council

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 22:04

Puckett EMS Paramedic Jordan Doty and AEMT Sam White recently were honored for outstanding service in protecting public safety by the South Cobb Area Council of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce at the organization’s annual Public Safety Appreciation Luncheon on November 1.

The South Cobb Area Council recognized the team for their commitment to the community and for their exceptional ability to perform their duties under the most strenuous of circumstances.

“These gentlemen exemplify the dedication and spirit that our crews here at Puckett EMS have,” said Puckett EMS Information Officer Jim McMichen. “That can’t be taught. It’s a culture that permeates throughout our company because of great clinicians like Jordan and Sam.” 

Last year, the team showed outstanding clinical skill and quick action when responding to a motorcycle injury in Mableton, Georgia. The motorcyclist had collided with a fire hydrant and was unconscious and not breathing. Before arriving on the scene, the team developed a treatment plan, which they executed efficiently once on-scene. The team confirmed that the patient had no pulse, initiated CPR and prepared the patient for transport.

In less than six minutes, Doty and White were able to begin the initial treatment, fully immobilize the patient due to a suspected spinal injury and prepare the patient for transport. While White drove the team to Grady’s Marcus Trauma Center, Doty diligently continued to perform CPR and was able to initiate several IVs to provide fluid resuscitation. 

The patient had a return of spontaneous circulation during transport, and Doty and White continued to provide care as they entered the trauma bay at Grady and transferred care to the awaiting trauma team.

Though the patient ultimately died from his injuries, the family had a few additional days with their loved one and made the decision to donate his organs to help save the lives of many individuals in need of transplants.

Categories: EMS

DT Research Announces First Complete Vehicle Mount Tablet Solution Purpose-built for First Responders, Field Service and Military

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 21:47

PHILADELPHIA, IACP 2017 - October 23, 2017 – DT Research, the leading designer and manufacturer of purpose-built computing solutions for vertical markets, today announced a complete vehicle mount tablet solution that includes a 12.5 inch Full HD display tablet (optional 4K Ultra HD) with a slim folding keyboard cradle. This is the first rugged tablet and vehicle mount solution designed by one manufacturer to ensure guaranteed compatibility and seamless interoperability for superior information capture/transfer and mobile communications through a dual pass-through antenna.

The light, durable and highly reliable IP65 military standard DT325T tablet can be used in and out of vehicles or wall mounted. DT Research carefully designed these purpose-built tablets for first responders, military, law enforcement, field service, manufacturing and warehousing environments.

The DT325T rugged tablet and mounting solution will be showcased at the IACP 2017 Conference (International Association of Chiefs of Police) in Philadelphia from October 21-24, 2017 in booth 1710.

“We saw a need in the market for a more versatile tablet that could be used in and out of vehicles,” said Daw Tsai Sc.D., president of DT Research. “Other mountable tablets are too bulky and do not consider how the tablets will be used in real-world situations. Our vehicle mount tablet solution mirrors the unique features needed in first responder, law enforcement and field service environments.”

Categories: EMS

Is it an Emergency? Insurer Asks Patients to Question ED Visits

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 18:01

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Alison Wrenne was making waffles for her two young children one morning when abdominal pain forced her to the floor. A neighbor who is a physician assistant urged her to go to the emergency room.

Wrong decision, according to her health insurer. Wrenne was diagnosed with a ruptured ovarian cyst, but Anthem said that wasn't an emergency and stuck her with a $4,110 bill.

"How are you supposed to know that?" said the 34-year-old from Lexington, Kentucky. "I'm not a doctor ... that's what the emergency room is for."

In an effort to curb unnecessary and costly ER visits, the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer has told customers in a few U.S. states to go to the hospital only in a real emergency such as a heart attack, stroke and major bleeding — or they could wind up footing the bill.

Anthem, the nation's second-largest insurer, wants patients to consider alternatives like drugstore clinics, nurse advice hotlines or telemedicine. Insurers for years have been raising ER co-payments to try to deter unnecessary — and expensive — visits, and Anthem's policy marks another round in this long-standing fight.

Even doctors agree the ER — an important revenue source for hospitals — isn't the best option for minor complaints like sinus infections, rashes or ankle sprains. They say it's better in those cases to see a family doctor who knows a person's medical history.

But some also worry that Anthem's clampdown will scare patients away from the ER in an actual emergency, especially in cases where major problems may not seem serious at first.

"I think it's completely unfair to patients," said Dr. Jesse Pines, who teaches emergency medicine at George Washington University. "It runs the risk of really hurting some people."

Customers in Missouri and Georgia received letters earlier this year from Anthem warning them that minor complaints should be checked out at places like clinics or urgent care centers, where visits can cost $85 and $190, respectively. By comparison, Anthem says a typical ER visit costs around $1,200.

Categories: EMS

Las Vegas Shooting Victims Search for Their Heroes

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:19

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As soon as Chris Gilman knew she would survive the gunshot wound she sustained in the Las Vegas massacre, she wanted to find the two strangers who saved her life — a man and woman whose names she didn't even know.

She found a Facebook page called "Find My LV Hero" and posted a plea.

"Looking for husband and wife who were by the VIP bleachers and helped me get out," wrote Gilman, of Bonney Lake, Washington. "My wife gave the husband her shirt and the wife held it against my side to stop bleeding as they carried me through the VIP area out to the street."

Despite the scant details in Gilman's post, it worked. Three days later, Gilman connected with her rescuers, Alex and Wanda Valiente, off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who were at the Oct. 1 concert where a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds.

The connection is one of about 25 made so far through the Facebook page. Nearly six weeks after the massacre, Ashton Zyer's social media creation continues to generate new searches for heroes who in some cases saved lives and in others simply provided what comfort they could.

Zyer, a Las Vegas singer/songwriter, said she started the page after seeing several people in her large social media network post about trying to find someone.

Meghan Earley posted that she was looking for a security guard and a Las Vegas police officer who helped her escape.

"Because of their bravery I only have a sprained ankle, cuts and bruises, as well as a concussion and some broken teeth," she wrote on Oct. 14. "You both are my heroes forever!!!"

Myrna Lopez is looking for a paramedic who gave the socks off his feet to her friend when he saw her running barefoot.

Categories: EMS

Medics Recall Scene at Texas Church Shooting

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:38

LA VERNIA, Texas (AP) — By the time Paul Brunner rolled up in his ambulance to the worst mass shooting in Texas history, the First Baptist Church was a chaotic triage scene. Parents cried and kids screamed, and nearly all the victims appeared to have been hit more than once.

Two of the first four patients the burly volunteer medic loaded into ambulances were children.

"Our inclination is to protect children. The thing is, that wasn't his inclination," Brunner said, referring to the gunman. "He wasn't separating going: 'I'm not going to hurt the kids. I'm going to go after whatever adults wronged me.'"

When gunfire tore through the church in tiny Sutherland Springs, killing more than two dozen, the bullets claimed eight children and teenagers who were sitting through Sunday services with their families. It was the largest number of children killed in a mass shooting since 20 died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Like that massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the fact that the assailant slaughtered defenseless children compounded the anguish. Nearby schools quickly added grief counselors.

The shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, had a turbulent and violent past that included a court-martial while serving in the Air Force on charges that he assaulted his then-wife and hit her child hard enough to fracture the boy's skull. Kelley, who had a rifle and left behind at least 15 empty magazines holding 30 rounds each, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car.

Investigators have said the shooting appeared to stem from a domestic dispute involving Kelley and his mother-in-law, who sometimes attended services at the church but was not present on Sunday.

One couple who survived the attack, Rosanne Solis and Joaquin Ramirez, said Kelley went aisle by aisle through the pews and shot crying children at point-blank range.

Authorities put the death count at 26, including the unborn baby of one of the slain women and the 14-year-old daughter of the church's pastor, Frank Pomeroy.

Categories: EMS

Pennsylvania Trooper Saves Own Life With Tourniquet

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 13:31

A Pennsylvania State Police trooper who was shot several times during a traffic stop likely saved his own life by applying a tourniquet to his leg before help arrived, authorities said Wednesday as they released more details of the violent confrontation along a busy highway.

Cpl. Seth Kelly, 39, remained hospitalized in critical condition after suffering gunshot wounds to his neck and shoulder area and to his leg in the close-quarters gunfight. The 13-year veteran was set to undergo another surgery to remove a bullet.

"He's battling. He's certainly not out of the woods by any means, but ... he is a very strong individual, and he displayed a will yesterday that he wanted to live and get through this," state police Capt. Richard D'Ambrosio said at a press conference.

In this undated photo released by the Pennsylvania State Police, Cpl. Seth J. Kelly, is shown. Authorities have identified Kelly as the Pennsylvania State Police trooper who was shot several times Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, during a traffic stop and remains hospitalized in critical condition. (Pennsylvania State Police via AP Photo)

The suspect, 22-year-old Daniel Khalil Clary, of Effort, faces charges that include attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and aggravated assault. Clary, who was shot and remains hospitalized, has given a statement to police.

"He's not denying his involvement," said Lt. Joseph F. Sokolofski.

Kelly was helping another trooper arrest Clary, whom they suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana, when Clary began fighting with the troopers, police said. The struggle lasted nearly two minutes, and at one point all three men were "wrestling and rolling around" the right lane of busy Route 33, in Plainfield Township, north of Philadelphia, as cars and trucks whizzed by them on the left, D'Ambrosio said.

Categories: EMS

Crestline Awarded $23.7 Million Contract For BCEHS Ambulances

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 23:00
NSaskatoon, SK, Canada – Crestline Coach, a global leader in ambulance and specialty vehicle manufacturing, has secured a multi-year deal with BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS). Manufacturing is currently underway at Crestline’s production headquarters, situated in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with delivery scheduled to begin early 2018.
BCEHS is a long-standing customer of Crestline Coach, purchasing over 750 ambulances and specialty vehicles since 1995. Crestline and BCEHS worked closely to develop two prototypes to meet BCEHS’s urban and rural fleet needs. The prototypes are similar in design to BCEHS’s existing fleet; however, the new models incorporate several unique and distinct features that will enhance paramedic and patient safety, along with ergonomics and fleet efficiency. Examples of the enhancements include, but are not limited, to:

Safety: Crestline’s roll-cage body construction will greatly improve paramedic and patient safety. The strength of the Crestline aerodynamic modular body is without equal in the ambulance industry. Based on Crestline’s exclusive “roll bar” technology, the modular body has superior crash worthiness in “all axis” directions. In the event of a major accident, the roll over protective structure provides BCEHS’s paramedics and patients with the utmost protection.

A new style of emergency lighting will be adopted for the purpose of increasing off axis visibility of the ambulance while travelling to the scene of an accident or transporting a patient to the hospital.

Ergonomics: Through human factors testing and feedback from BCEHS, modifications to the interior body will enhance the ergonomic environment for paramedics, specifically improving access to critical equipment and providing larger storage volume for vital supplies.

“Green” element: Through a trial run, select ambulances will be outfitted with solar panels to measure the impact on the fleet’s efficiency. The solar panels will capture energy from the sun, directly converting abundant energy into electrical energy. This newfound energy assists in powering lifesaving equipment onboard, as well as the conversion batteries, which will result in less maintenance and help improve fuel economy.
Categories: EMS

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