On The Scene

Volume 5, Issue 3

EMS play critical role in concussion care

As an EMS professional, you may never meet Jill Kouts, BSN, RN, nurse coordinator for the Center for Concussion Management at The University of Kansas Hospital. But she knows your work and it’s important to her.

EMS reports help Kouts evaluate concussion patients and refer them for treatment to specialists in sports medicine, pediatrics, rehab, neurology and trauma. Concussion patients who are admitted to the hospital through the emergency department receive care from our trauma specialists.

Those who are released from the ED are referred to the concussion team for outpatient care. Kouts works directly with each patient. She triages them, writes a comprehensive summary and sends the patient to the physician most appropriate.

Concussion can happen anywhere: One of the biggest misconceptions about concussion is that it’s strictly sports-related. Trauma-related concussions are common. People can walk down the street and fall or be struck by an object and suffer a concussion.

Looking beyond the obvious: Someone who has a broken bone or has had a heart attack or seizure may suffer a concussion as the result of a fall. Look for symptoms beyond physical injuries. Concussion is silent; it’s not always obvious. It can be an ancillary injury.

At the scene of an accident, EMS professionals can evaluate whether patients are unconscious, dizzy or confused, or if they’ve suffered visible head trauma. In the ED, physicians perform exams and use imaging to determine if patients have experienced traumatic brain injury or concussion, have bleeding in the brain or are just shaken.

Completing the picture: It’s important for EMS to include all they observe in their report because injured patients often don’t know what happened. Some patients have no memory of what happened before or after the accident.

Sometimes the effects of concussion aren’t immediately visible. Patients may feel fine after resting for a few days, but then become fatigued or dazed when they return to their normal routine.

It’s important Kouts has as clear a picture as possible of our patients. EMS notes provide a better understanding.

To learn more, visit

Dan Hudson: Your EMS resource at The University of Kansas Hospital

Whether you arrive at our emergency department from the scene or attend a class or conference, EMS Liaison Dan Hudson is the tie that binds our EMS partners with the hospital.
Hudson, RN, EMT-P, can answer your questions and make sure EMS professionals get the information they need. “Day to day, I’m the bridge for EMS and the hospital,” he said.

Hudson brings more than 40 years of experience and knowledge to the job. That includes 15 years as a ground EMT and paramedic, three years as an ED nurse and 23 years as a flight nurse. He graduated with the first EMT class in Topeka in 1974.

The University of Kansas Hospital had just created the position of EMS liaison when Hudson started in November 2010. “This is an important position for an institution our size,” Hudson said, “especially given the number of patients who come in by ambulance.”

Building good relationships:
Although his work at the hospital keeps him busy, Hudson is often in the field visiting EMS locations. He also represents the hospital at EMS events including the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services board meetings, the Kansas EMS Association’s and Kansas EMT Association’s annual conferences and the Missouri EMS Association symposium.

At conferences, Hudson enjoys meeting new and veteran EMS providers and sharing information about the hospital’s nationally recognized services, including its Level I Trauma Center, ABA-verified Adult and Pediatric Burn Center and Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center. “I get the word out about our hospital and what we have to offer. I listen to concerns and feedback and hear valid suggestions,” Hudson said. “We have good relationships with EMS professionals. The hospital recognizes the importance of having a full-time EMS contact who knows the people to connect with.”

EMS educator: Hudson assists as an instructor with several classes for EMS professionals and nurses. These include ACLS, PALS, ENPC, TNCC and PHTLS.

Passionate about EMS: Hudson said he remains excited about EMS work. “I love it. I’m still very passionate about this type of work, and I have been since I started in 1969. Even though I’m not on the street, I hope my experience can be beneficial.” To learn more, contact Hudson at or 913-588-0824.

LifeTeam critical care ambulance service

LifeTeam is an independent critical care ambulance service based in Newton, Kan., which partners with healthcare providers throughout the Midwest. The company began operation in 2001 and has expanded throughout the Midwest and recently into Hawaii.

LifeTeam operates 12 base locations in Kansas (Dodge City, Emporia, Hutchinson, Liberal, Newton and Wichita); Nebraska (Grand Island and McCook); Colorado (Denver); and Hawaii (Hilo, Honolulu and Maui).

LifeTeam provides rapid access for critically ill or injured patients to tertiary care. The company works with hospitals, EMS and fire departments and law enforcement to design efficient processes to enhance patient care. In 2013, LifeTeam performed more than 2,200 patient transports. In addition, LifeTeam has:
  •   200 employees, including 5 EMTs, 21 paramedics, 31 RNs and 55 pilots
  •   5 helicopters staffed 24/7 by a pilot, RN and paramedic
  •   2 fixed wing aircraft staffed 24/7 by two pilots, an RN and paramedic
To learn more, visit

Questions or comments?
Contact Dan Hudson, RN, EMT-P, EMS liaison, at or 913-588-0824.

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