Month: December 2011

B for…bondage?

Our patient has just lay down on the stretcher; I begin doing up the six-point harness.

“In order to stop you from running away, sir,” I explain,” it’s embarrassing for us if we arrive at hospital and there is nobody on the stretcher anymore.”

“No problems”, he replies, “I don’t mind a bit of bondage!

“In that case, I’ll grab the large leather straps from the back of the van”

He looks at me, jokingly winks and adds: “Maybe we should wait until tonight, darling…”

His wife, next to us, just shakes her head and cringes.

The future of paramedicine – equipment

Back in the early days of paramedicine (if you could already call it that),  when a bunch of guys together could form a scoop and swoop ambo-group, equipment was basic. Oxygen, blankets and a few bandaids was the extent of tools provided.

 picture courtesy of Colac Ambulance Station

Then the actual paramedic movement started around the world, more equipment was available, partially due to technological advances, miniaturisation and lowered cost. Ambulances started to become equipped with defibrillators and other fancy gear, but still looked basic compared to todays standards.

 picture courtesy of Colac Ambulance Station

Let’s skip ahead a little further. We all know what the world looks like today. But what will tomorrow look like? We are already seeing electronic patient care records (ePCR) popping up in various services (I myself am using an iPad for all documentation purposes). Connectivity is the key – it’s certain that down the line they will connect both with other tools (like your monitor, or even your ambulance via automatic odometer readings to your ePCR) and with your team players (the receiving hospitals, dispatch, colleagues).

Look at the advancement of technology. Defibrillators of yesteryear were cumbersome (see above), had poor battery life, and couldn’t do much else. Today, they have colour screens, Bluetooth/3G connectivity, 12 lead ECGs, NIBP, SpO2, ETCO2 and much much more on board.

Who knows, one day that screen may be used to incorporate ultrasound? Or, as Rob Theriault recently tweeted, maybe sputum sampling?

 Mockup of a monitor with built in ultrasound. Pictures courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (1, 2, 3)

How about our little blood glucose machines? All those little jabs you have inflicted on patients all these years? Those days may be gone if science finds a way of non invasive blood glucose level (BGL) monitoring. And while we’re at it: If that little finger probe attached to your monitor will do SpO2, CO and BGL readings for you, why not think a little further and get it to display more non invasive monitoring parameters, such as acid/base balance and electrolyte values? Think of the possibilities, then think of the possibilities you can’t think of. Once technology becomes available, bright minds will come up with all sorts of  new uses. Compare it back to the days prior to widespread broadband – many people could not see the benefits at all. Nowadays, videoconferencing and data sharing (e.g. Skype, Facebook, YouTube etc) have become mainstream communication methods. Have a peek at new telehealth technologies, trials have already begun. More ideas here, here and here.

Now take that step to 4G and beyond with new high speed mobile broadband – the possibilities are endless.

Inspiring

Last week I went to see “Bill Cunningham New York” in the cinema.
My mum actually saw it a week prior, and was telling me about it over dinner – I must admit (sorry mum) that I was semi-dreaming when she was telling me about the film, but a few key points grabbed my attention:

  • He lives in a single room apartment
  • That single room is full of filing cabinets, with a copy of every one of his pictures
  • The bed is somewhere in between
  • Most importantly: His passion is his work, his art, his life.

Later that night, I realised I had to watch this film. I’m no fashionista, but that’s not why I went to see this film. This feller just sounded so dedicated!

I haven’t been focused and captured for 90 minutes straight in a long time. But this was a really good portrait of dedication, passion and persistence.

Go see it, and feed off the great.