Author Archives: SWORBHP

Question: After consistent review of the new ALS, I just came across something that I am hoping you may clarify for me. In regards to the Medical Cardiac Arrest directive, under the "clinical considerations," it states that under certain circumstances we transport after first rhythm analysis (and lists some examples). In the old ALS, one of these examples was "pediatrics" but now i notice that in the new ALS, also under clinical considerations, it mentions to plan for extrication and transport of pediatric cardiac arrest patients after 3 analyses. So, does this mean we do not transport after first rhythm analysis for pediatrics and must complete the full directive now?

Question: My question relates to narcan. Do you feel it is necessary in all cases to check BGL prior to administering narcan? The Medical Directive reads uncorrected hypoglycemia as contraindication but in the presence of no diabetic history and an incident history which is clearly indicating opioid overdose combined with critically low oxygen saturation and no ability to ventilate are we to invariably to take a BGL prior to treating obvious signs and symptoms of opioid overdose or can we use clinical judgement based on findings? It goes without saying that a BGL should eventually be taken on such a patient at some point but my question is with a critical patient, no history or finding consistent with low BGL and multiple indicators for OD are we not safe to presume OD, treat accordingly and follow up with BGL afterwards to rule out hypoglycemia?

Question: In the 2015 ALS Companion Document Version 3.3 pg 13, it states this: "A clinical consideration states "Suspected renal colic patients should routinely be considered for Ketorolac". More correctly, this statement should include NSAIDS like Ibuprofen. Ketorolac is preferred when the patient is unable to tolerate oral medication.

There is some confusion over the interpretation of this. I read this statement as suspected renal colic patients should be routinely screened for an NSAID (not just Ketorolac), and therefore should be given ibuprofen first instead, unless the patient cannot tolerate oral medication. My PPC is saying differently that you should be considering Ketorolac first, since the companion document cannot overrule the ALS Directives. What is the true purpose of this statement then?

Question: I have a question regarding the administration of narcan. Narcan seems to be given more often now that there is no patch point. The wording of the medical directive hasn't changed though so just to confirm, are we still just to be giving it when we cannot adequately ventilate the patient? Example, if they are GCS of 3 and breathing inadequately but we are getting good compliance on the BVM and the patient’s vitals are otherwise stable, are we ok to not give it? If we do go ahead and give narcan to a patient who is NOT breathing and they start breathing on their own but are still GCS of 3 are we to stop there since we can now manage their airway or do we continue up to our maximum of 3 doses or until they become GCS of 15?

Question: If the Valsalva Maneuver is not a medically controlled act why would a PCP not be able to carry out this procedure for a symptomatic narrow complex, regular rhythm tachycardia that is symptomatic? PCP's are supposed to be able to identify sinus tachycardia, atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter which would be contraindicated and especially if no other immediate care is available. Why such be restricted to only ACP's, again especially if no other immediate care is available?

Question: Why are all the directives based upon an urban setting assumption given that there are very rural areas in which paramedics work in besides big cities? Further to this, one could suggest that certain advanced skills are more appropriate if not life saving the further from a hospital. Has there ever been any consideration to consider such advanced care skills such as midazolam for seizures, needle thoracostomy, peds IO and even cricothyrotomy to name a few. Why are these not even considered in areas with transport times exceeding well over 1-2hrs. These are skills that overall can make a significant difference in patient outcomes especially when no other care is available. To add, these are not skills that can be deemed to be well learned for even experienced ACP's as actual prevalence even in an urban setting is very low. Thus, the number needed learn position can be put forth ACP's anymore than PCP's but the difference in distance to more advanced care certainly can.

Question: One frustration or perhaps lack of knowing is why the Medical Directives differ so much from province to province even for PCPs. Does "evidence based medicine" stop at provincial borders or is it that interpretation and application of such depends more on who, as well as financial politics and liabilities more than evidence based medicine and timely patient care? I can provide examples but I do not think it is specifically necessary-helpful per say in answering the primary question. Look forward to your response.

Question: When the Ministry of Health's DNR forms are filled out, can the section where the patient's name goes have a sticker from the hospital with the patients name/health card #/DOB, etc. instead of having the name printed or does that make the form invalid. The form specifically states the patient’s name should be printed clearly. I wasn't sure if the ID sticker was something we could accept instead or if that section can only be filled out by hand.

Question: In a setting where you arrive on scene and you are presented with a patient who is unconscious and is hypotensive, the patient has a valid DNR. Can you still administer fluids to this patient or does that fall under the same category as inserting an OPA/NPA and BVM to a patient with a DNR?

Question: This question may be a very rare situation but I have not been able to get an answer from any paramedics I have asked. As per the "Patching" section in the introduction of the ALS PCS the literature states "BHP cannot be reached despite reasonable attempts by the paramedic to establish contact, a paramedic may initiate the required treatment without the requisite online authorization if the patient is in severe distress and, in the paramedic’s opinion, the medical directive would otherwise apply". In a situation where a cardioversion is required and the unstable patient is still conscious, it is fairly common practice to ask for sedation and pain control (i.e. Morphine/Midazolam) along with orders for cardioversion. If multiple BH patches cannot be completed and in the paramedics opinion cardioversion is required for the unstable but conscious patient, are we able to administer sedation and pain control? I ask this because there is not a directive that directly deals with pain and sedation prior to delivering the cardioversion, but is common to ask for such direction.

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