Scotland Initiates Ambulance Disaster Specialist Program

Scotland Initiates Ambulance Disaster Specialist Program

SORT staff train to respond alongside their police and fire services counterparts

In most parts of the world including Canada, when there is a mass casualty or hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological) incident, paramedics who arrive on the scene must wait for an All Clear signal before tending to victims or wait for rescuers to pull them from what is deemed the “hot zone”. In an attempt to bring the capabilities of its paramedics to parity with those of the police and fire services, the Scottish Ambulance service has started up a new Special Operations Response Team initiative (SORT).

In addition to paramedic clinical training, SORT staff training will include risk assessment, forensic awareness, incident management and casualty decontamination procedures. The teams “are focused on bringing safe and effective care to the patient, regardless of their physical location” in challenging and hazardous environments. The ambulance service’s chief executive Pauline Howie has high hopes for the program saying, “The ability to work inside the inner cordon alongside other emergency responders will result in quicker access to patients and a much higher level of clinical care and triage at the scene.” BBC News

Bacterial Superbug Finds Foothold in East Asia

A bacteria strain, classified as a superbug, has begun to proliferate in East Asia. The bacteria carry a gene called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1 that gives them a resistance to even the most powerful antibiotics called carbapenems. As a result, there are almost no drugs to treat it. A study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that the gene is becoming more common in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Recently, Americans and Europeans have been turning to India in increasing numbers for cheap medical procedures –especially cosmetic surgery. Epidemiologists are concerned that the new bug could spread around the world quickly because of this popularity as a destination for “medical tourism”. Confirmed cases have already been reported in Britain and the US. Reuters AlertNet

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