More medical directors are rejecting the superstition that it is acceptable to harm patients to prevent fear of law suits.
There is no evidence that backboards do anything to protect the spine, but there is plenty of evidence that backboards cause harm.
All treatments have side effects, so we need to have evidence of benefit to justify exposing our patients to those side effects. A treatment that does not provide any benefit to the patient exposes the patient to the side effects, but does not provide any benefit. This is indefensible, but many doctors, nurses, paramedics, basic EMTs, and others continue to defend this magical thinking and oppose EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine).
Fortunately, the defenders of superstitious nonsense seem to be losing support for belief in the magical properties of backboards.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue just became one of the first agencies in the state to stop the use of rigid backboards for spinal immobilization.
Instead of using the backboard, patients will be placed on a padded stretcher. Cervical collars will still be used when necessary to provide cervical stabilization.
“The new procedures will reduce pain and suffering of patients, reduce complications, decrease on scene times and reduce injuries to crews who are attempting to carry immobilized patients,” said Cpt. Albert Borroto in a news release.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue joins a growing list of EMS agencies that are putting patients ahead of superstition –
Agencies/EMS Systems Minimizing Backboard use -
Let me know if I should add your agency to this list.
Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Medical Control Board
Bernalillo County Fire Department
Connecticut, State of
Durham County EMS
Eagle County Ambulance District
HealthEast Medical Transportation
St. Paul, MN
Johnson County EMS
Kenosha Fire Department
Maryland, State of
North Memorial Ambulance & Aircare
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
Rio Rancho Fire Department
SERTAC (Southeast Regional Trauma Advisory Council)
Wichita-Sedgwick County EMS System
Xenia Fire Department
Outside of the US –
St. John Ambulance