Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Top Ten Resuscitation Headlines from Rescue Digest – Read ‘Em and Learn


This should catch your attention –

RescueDigest’s Top Picks of essential resources for critical topics in emergency services.

What should we be paying attention to?

Headline #1: EMS Saves Everyone / EMS Saves No One[1]


If you read the main stream media, you get one version, or the other, or even both in the same week/month/year.


If we get our science reporting from the news media, we are not getting valid science reporting.

We are probably getting a poor translation of a secondhand account of what the researcher denied was the result of the study.

Trust the media. We would never misrepresent anything!

Image credit.

This article provides evidence to explain what the truth is.

Does EMS save everyone?

We haven’t put the funeral homes out of business, yet – and we never will.

Does EMS save no one?

Systems that focus on excellent uninterrupted compressions and rapid defibrillation save 40% – 60% of the patients who are in a shockable rhythm when EMS arrives.

You were dead.

No pulse.

No brain function.




But – after EMS treatment – you are alive.

This is a true improved outcome, not getting a pulse back only to die in the ICU, or to die in a few weeks/months in a nursing home without ever waking up.

Your brain is working again.

You can play with your children/grandchildren, again.

You are alive.

Only 40% to 60% of patients in shockable rhythms when EMS arrives!

Not perfect, but nothing is perfect. Less than perfect is imperfect, but everything is imperfect. Less than perfect, but better than nothing is still better than nothing. 40% to 60% are better than they would be with nothing.

The NNT (Number Needed to Treat) is a little more than two.

That makes this one of the most effective medical treatments available. Prevention of cardiac arrest is still better, but when prevention does not work, this frequently does.

Less than perfect is the best that is available from real medicine. Charlatans will promise to do better, but they will end up making excuses for failure – and they cannot resuscitate.

The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that “right” and “wrong” are absolute; that everything that isn’t perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong.[2]


What about the rest of the headlines?

Don’t end up like this –

Image credit.

Go read what Rommie Duckworth is writing.

Go through the slides from his presentation. If you get a chance, go to a conference where he is presenting, such as EMS Today in Washington, D.C., a little over a week from today.

2:15PM- 3:15PM
Don’t Lose Your Cool: Dealing With Problem Students

Room: 207B
The Know-it-all. The Worrier. The Heckler. The Rambler. The Cheater. Is one rotten apple going to spoil your whole program? This program provides educators of all levels with insight into the sources of student issues as well as the mistakes that instructors commonly make that contribute to classroom unrest. Using read more…

Rommie Duckworth
N.E. Ctr. for Rescue & Emerg. Med.
Sherman, CT, United States



[1] RescueDigest Resources: Top Ten Resuscitation Headlines
Rescue Digest
Posted on Jan 29, 2014
Rom Duckworth

[2] The Relativity of Wrong
The Skeptical Inquirer
Fall 1989, Vol. 14, No. 1, Pp. 35-44
By Isaac Asimov

Read the whole article. It is not long, but it is an excellent introduction to how science works.

[3] EMS Today
February 5-8, 2014
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington D.C.

Results of search for Rommie Duckworth in EMS Today’s schedule search.



  1. when, oh when will you take the blue pill and stop ranting and raving? then you can be good and compliant like the rest of us.

    • Thanks RM. As you see we agree on a number of points there. So often the headlines read one way but the truth (or as close as we can get to it) takes a little bit more thought and research to reach.

      Some things we still don’t know about, but there’s so much that we do know about resuscitation that if we could just focus on the knowns, TRUE resuscitation (going home form the hospital neurologically intact) rates would rise even while we continue to search for the answers to the remaining questions (what / how / when is the best way to initiate post-ROSC hypothermia for one example).

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