The Pit Crew Approach to Saving Lives

September 24, 2012Comments Off on The Pit Crew Approach to Saving Lives

When someone suffers from a cardiac arrest, every minute is considered to be very important. This is one of the reasons why the American Heart Association has recently changed the way CPR is administered to patients. Recently, however, studies have shown that there is also a bottleneck when it comes to how the paramedics respond and treat the victim.

In most cases, when paramedics are dispatched to take care of a cardiac arrest victim, they work in pairs. Unfortunately, from there, the steps that need to be taken start to get murky. For one, there is no specific procedure or person who designates which one gets to administer the AED or do chest compressions, and which one to ready the ambulance for loading the victim. If you would observe, the two-man team would usually just alternately administer the CPR. This would mean, there is a lag in time if ever one has to go and get the AED. There could also be lag if one has to ready the ambulance while the other one has to cut through the patient’s clothing. Because oft his dilemma, the Beaufort County emergency responders have decided to shave off a few more minutes by getting inspiration from NASCAR.

If you happen to be a racing car enthusiast, you would notice that, whenever a race car makes a pit stop, a group of about 6 to 8 people hurriedly approach it, each with his own area to take care of. One would replace the left front tire, another would take care of the one on the right. This is because, when it comes to car races, every minute counts. And since the same is true for people who are suffering from cardiac arrest, it is only right that responders take notice of this process.

The Beaufort County emergency responders now have a choreographed way of dealing with victims. Instead of focusing on just one area at a time, a group of 6 medical responders would not have his or her own area of responsibility. Although this saves only about 3 minutes, the possibility of the victim making it through is actually increased by about four times.

The pit crew being used by the Beaufort County is actually made up of one ambulance, two fire engines,  and a battalion chief. With this recent change, about 4.5 out of 10 cardiac arrest victims are able to make it through as compared to the 3 out of 10 that they previously had with a two-man team. Of course, the figures differ if there is a bystander present or if the nature of the cardiac arrest involves other injuries. However, comparing the previous survival rate in any type of case with the recent figures would show an increase in the number of lives saved. This is because, one of the primary effects of the new setup is that artificial circulation is started immediately and the major organs get the needed oxygen in order to prevent tissue necrosis.

If you want to know more about CPR training and certification, Citywide CPR might be able to help you.