“Stroke Ambulances” Could Save Lives Before Ever Reaching the Hospital

The last year or so has seen the arrival of super ambulances, emergency vehicles equipped with life-saving CT scanners that can treat stroke victims without waiting to arrive at the hospital.

Source: “Stroke Ambulances” Could Save Lives Before Ever Reaching the Hospital

There are numerous stories about people expiring in ambulances because traffic won’t allow the ambulance through.  I was shocked to find that our local law that requires traffic to pull over when an ambulance is coming from behind is not universally implemented, even more to encounter people whose culture was not to move in this event.

In light of the traffic and ambulance location issues, cities like New York turned to making more people first aid attendants.  The response time was something like 3 minutes, but there’s no way these people are going to have access to the portable CT scanner, or make the judgement call to employ the clot busting medication TPA.

I appreciate that the team did it, but logistics said it was a useless effort a long time ago.

Top Gear Attempts to Improve the Ambulance

Season 22, episode 3 aired on Saturday:

Clarkson used an old Porsche, May retrofitted a hearse…  May’s car done up reminded me of Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters car.  Clarkson modified the siren to play “Stayin’ Alive”, but I think gunshots might have had a better impact.  Then I could’ve said “mop”, in true Archer fashion:

How Scientists Gained the Ability to Reverse Heroin Overdoses

Naloxone can reverse an otherwise fatal heroin overdose within minutes. Carrie Arnold meets the doctors who put this remarkable drug in the hands of the police, families and addicts—and saved thousands of lives.

…it as one of the few defences against the epidemic of overdoses that was killing people across America. Cheap and relatively pure heroin had recently become easier to obtain, but that wasn’t the only cause. A few years earlier, physicians had begun to change the way they prescribed opioid painkillers. These drugs can be highly addictive; one physician I talked to called them “heroin in pill form”. Yet between 1991 and 2013, prescriptions for opioid painkillers jumped from 76 million to 207 million per year, partly because physicians became more willing to prescribe the drugs to patients with chronic pain. Some of these patients found themselves hooked. And then, instead of sticking with these relatively expensive prescription narcotics, some began injecting heroin, for the better high and lower cost. America’s prescription opioid and heroin epidemics were merging into a single monster, one with tentacles that seemed to be everywhere, slowly strangling young and old.

Source: How Scientists Gained the Ability to Reverse Overdoses

It’s an involved, interesting and balanced article.  It addresses the concerns that reversing an overdose enables addicts, and how the drug works (receptor antagonist).

Did you know that heroin was originally a trademark?  Like hoover and xerox, trademark names that became so commonplace the branding lost significance.

Study: Advanced Life Support Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths

Emergency treatments delivered in ambulances that offer “Advanced Life Support” for cardiac arrest may be linked to more death, comas and brain damage than those providing “Basic Life Support.”

That’s according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, which suggests that high-tech equipment and sophisticated treatment techniques may distract from what’s most important during cardiac arrest — transporting a critically ill patient to the hospital quickly.


It’s an important issue to us on blood thinners, when clots mean an increased risk in heart attack or aneurysm.  The study focuses on how Advanced Life Support (ALS) spends more time in the field – they’re trained (two years under a doctor as I understand) to work off the idea that immediate skilled care is in the “golden hour”, ASAP.  But I didn’t see anyone raising the point that ALS means you’re considering in bad/worse enough shape – there is a different, distinct call for ALS vs the usual ambulance.

It can be hard not to get caught in the moment and freak out about an ambulance, nevermind what type.  But it doesn’t do you any favours.