On the Scene

Summer 2012

Quick assessment improves concussion care

Appearances can be deceiving when assessing an athlete who received a direct hit to the head. Concussion symptoms can be subtle and present differently from one individual to the next.

To help you determine if a player has a concussion, refer to the sport concussion assessment tool 2, or SCAT2. It lists symptoms and basic memory function questions. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion. Memory function questions include: what team are you playing against, who scores last in this game and how did you get to the game.

Difficulty answering may indicate a concussion. If you suspect a concussion, keep the athlete out of play and take him or her to the concussion management professional.

For a copy of the SCAT2, contact Liz Carlton by email.

Read more about sports concussions.

Working with electrical injuries

Electricity can cause serious injuries that are not always evident and may require specialized care. High-voltage (>1000 volts) and low-voltage (<1000) are two general classes of electrical injury.

  • Tetanic muscle contractions from high-voltage AC injuries may throw persons from or keep them in contact with the electrical source.
  • Thrown persons have about 15% greater likelihood of traumatic blunt injury. 
  • Persons thrown from height or against an object can have secondary blunt trauma such as compression fractures and spinal cord injuries.
  • High-voltage current can significantly damage muscle tissue. Patients are at high risk of myoglobinuria, rhabdomyolysis and renal failure.
  • Electrical injury can cause any type of cardiac arrhythmia. Ventricular fibrillation is the most common cause of death at the scene.
  • Patients not completely lucid with full recollection of events should have initial C-spine immobilization. Check for perforated tympanic membranes.

Call for time-critical diagnosis alerts

We encourage you to alert us for highly likely STEMI and stroke transports. This is crucial for time-critical diagnosis events. Early notification allows hospital staff to make cardiac cath lab, CT scan and interventional radiology preparations that will save lives.

Following your initial assessment at the scene, use the Cincinnati stroke scale, SAMPLE history and 12-lead EKG, if available. Do not hesitate to tell us if it is a STEMI, stroke, trauma or burn alert. Notify the ED coordinator by radio or call 913.588.2866.

Get more information on stroke.

You do great work saving lives

We congratulate and thank all of our EMS partners for the great work you do. Saving time saves lives. By using EKGs and reporting STEMIs to activate the cath lab team, you save patients up to 20 minutes from initial call to treatment in our cath lab. Our goal is to have the cath lab physician and team meet you in the ambulance bay. This allows us to bypass the ED and take the patient directly to the lab. We've also worked with EMS administrators to allow you to follow the patient to the lab, time permitting.

If you would like to visit the cath lab to observe our team, contact Kelly Hewins at 913.588.3214 or by email.