Lets talk about something nice for a change.
The LAS, not only doing well against nasty infectious diseases in the backs of ambulances, are also doing pretty well in the fight against people dying from cardiac arrest.
The latest figures for the cardiac arrest survival rate are out and we are doing really rather quite well.
In 2001-2002 of the people having a cardiac arrest, only 5% survived to be discharged from hospital.
in 2005-2006 it was 10.9%
Last year the survival chance is up to 15.8% – more than a three-fold increase from 2001-2002.
We must be doing something right. I would suspect that it's partly down to the change in the resuscitation guidelines. We've moved from the old (and very easy) five chest compressions at a time, to a much more knackering, but also much more effective 30 chest compressions at a time. Also our people who answer the 999 calls are moving towards giving people who call ambulances for cardiac arrests better instructions how to start CPR – we are currently in the middle of a research project based around improving these instructions.
The LAS has also been working in putting public access defibrillators in place in addition to training staff, such as rail and tube workers, in their use.
This is funded, not by the government, but by lottery money…
It's good to see us doing something right, just because it is right – even though the government doesn't 'mark us' on it.
There is only one slight downside to this – and it's because of the simplistic way in which the press reports things. The cardiac arrest survival rate is calculated using the Utstein* method. This means (very simplistically) that it is only the people who realistically have a chance of surviving that are counted. Poor old Doris whose heart stopped two days ago doesn't get counted. This is unfortunate in that this reporting still gives some family members a heightened expectation of their relative surviving – in which case it is up to the crew's people-skills to explain what has occurred.
*The cardiac arrest survival figure is calculated using the Utstein method, which takes into account the number of patients discharged alive from hospital who had resuscitation attempted following a cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac aetiology, and who also had their arrest witnessed by a bystander and an initial cardiac rhythm of ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia (From the LAS release).