First responders to change treatment of cardiac arrest patients

WASHINGTON – When a medical emergency strikes, the ambulance often speeds the patient to the hospital. But the steps could be different when the patient is suffering a heart attack.

The Gazette reports that the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems has ordered new protocols for paramedics, which will delay a heart attack patient’s arrival at the hospital.

The change is aimed at giving a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of survival. Paramedics are being required to provide up to 15 minutes of CPR before moving the patient.

The treatment is being changed because a patient’s best chance of survival comes in those early minutes which depend on effective CPR, which cannot be administered while moving a patient.

Under the changes, which were effective July 1, paramedics also now have the authority to declare a patient dead on the scene.

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