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

- Rogue Medic

The March for Science is a March for Honesty and Accountability


 

There were some great signs at the March for Science because the march was about truth and it is difficult to go wrong defending the search for truth. The only time people seem to oppose the search for truth is when truth is seen as a threat to their ideology and/or income.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! – Upton Sinclair.

Scientists are accused of being arrogant, apparently because scientists don’t waste their time on ideas that cannot be tested or on ideas that repeatedly fail objective testing. Scientists learn by providing the most honest way of assessing the truth – they do everything they can to eliminate bias and to eliminate the effects of anything that is not being tested.

Is that arrogant?

Arrogance would be refusing to allow everyone to criticize your work, but science requires that scientists be open about their work and invite their harshest critics to poke holes in their work.

This means that nonsense will not survive for long. The better hypotheses will survive. Logical fallacies are eventually exposed and we learn the truth.
 


 

This is why science rejects claims that fail experimentation and claims that cannot be tested. These claims are not science.
 

Flat Earth claims are rejected. There is abundant evidence that the Earth is not flat, but people still claim that the Earth is flat. There is no scientific controversy about whether the Earth is roughly spherical in shape.[1]
 

Creationism claims are rejected. Creationism contradicts almost all of the sciences (geology, astronomy, physics, biology, . . .), so Creationism would need to be supported by some very well tested evidence. Creationism is not supported by scientific evidence, but that does not stop Creationists from claiming to be scientists.

The clearest evidence that evolution is real is provided by DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid). When we want to confirm the relationship among different people, we use DNA, because it works. DNA confirms that we are related to baboons, bananas, and bacteria. DNA is able to show how close those relationships are. There is no scientific controversy about whether humans evolved along with the rest of life on Earth.[2]

 

I did not get a clear picture of the sign, but I have not changed the words.

 

Anti-GMO claims are rejected. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are recognized to be safe, nutritious, important in the prevention of widespread famine, overall much more beneficial than their critics claim, and dramatically better organic foods. Those opposed to GMOs claim that organic foods would not produce a famine, if everyone were to eat organic foods. Those opposed to GMOs claim that modification is bad, even though humans have been modifying crops for over 10,000 years. We even use chemicals and radiation to cause mutations to crops that are still considered organic.
 

From 1930 to 2014 more than 3200 mutagenic plant varieties have been released[1][2] that have been derived either as direct mutants (70%) or from their progeny (30%).[3] [3]

 

There is no scientific controversy about the benefits of GMOs.
 


 

Climate change denial is rejected. Climate change is real and harmful. Some people (not scientists) claim that natural factors are causing the unnatural warming. Some people (not scientists) claim that the unnatural warming is a good thing. Some people (not scientists) claim that the unnatural warming isn’t happening. There is no scientific controversy about the reality of climate change.
 


This chart[4] does not include 2016.

If you are a climate change denier, you were counting on 2016 being something other than the hottest year on record. Three years in a row would be unprecedented. 2017 was hotter than 2016, which contradicts the denier arguments.[5] If you are a climate change denier, you should realize that denying science is not going your way. You have had some political successes, but you can’t deny reality forever. There is no scientific controversy about the reality of climate change.
 

Anti-vaccine claims are rejected. Anti-vaxers claim that vaccines are dangerous and that vaccines do not work. Do vaccines work? We should have eradicated polio by now, but anti-vaxers have discouraged vaccination. If you don’t like your children getting the polio vaccine, blame the anti-vaxers. We did eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. We stopped vaccinating against smallpox. Smallpox was killing 2 million people a year. If you don’t worry about smallpox, thank a scientist. There is no scientific controversy about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
 

Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States – Table 1


 

In response to the evidence in Table 1,[6] anti-vaxers claim that improved sanitation and hygiene. The decrease in cases and deaths due to the various vaccine-preventable illnesses should be the same for all of these diseases, but that is not the case. The diseases have also produced epidemics when the vaccination level drops below herd immunity levels.[7] There is no scientific controversy about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
 

Science is not perfect, but science is better than all other means of learning the truth.

When science produces mistakes, we learn about it from scientists, not from politicians, not from preachers, not from placebo pushers, not from psychics, and not from any other deniers of science.

Maybe the message of science got through.

Maybe we won’t need another March for Science.
 


??Gaby Mérida ??‏ @ThatSpanishLady Twitter
Click on the image to make it larger.

Footnotes:

[1] Flat Earth Rising
by Steven Novella
Neurologica
April 6, 2017
Article

[2] Objections to evolution
Wikipedia
Article

[3] Mutation breeding
Wikipedia
Article

[4] The 10 Hottest Years on Record
January 20th, 2016
By Climate Central
Article

[5] 2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record
Both NASA and NOAA declare that our planet is experiencing record-breaking warming for the third year in a row
By Andrea Thompson
January 18, 2017
Scientific American
Article

[6] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group..
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

Free Full Text from JAMA.

[7] “Vaccines didn’t save us” (a.k.a. “vaccines don’t work”): Intellectual dishonesty at its most naked
by David Gorski
March 29, 2010
Science-Based Medicine
Article

.

Texas bill would let firefighters, EMTs carry firearms

 

There is a bill in Texas to require employers to allow EMS personnel to carry guns on the job.
 

“I would be in favor of leaving guns in the hands of police officers,” Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum said. “We have a specific mission to save lives and property, and I think carrying a firearm would cross the line in that regard.” [1]

 

What is the possible benefit?

As I have written about this before –

When would armed EMS make any difference?

Other than those times it makes things worse, when would it make a difference?
 

Below, Dara O’Briain spends a minute on the frustration of trying to explain to people, who don’t understand statistics, that crime rates are definitely going down. Following that, I provide evidence.
 


 

And they go, but the fear of crime is rising.

Well, so what? Zombies are at an all time low, but the fear of zombies could be incredibly high.

 

Here is the murder rate in America from 1960 to 2012 (the most recent data available from the FBI when I made the graph for Thanksgiving in 2015). The 2012 murder rate was 4.7 per 100,000. 2013 and 2014 were lower, both at 4.5 per 100,000.
 

US Murder Rate - 1960 - 2014
 

This is the murder rate in Canada compared with the murder rate in America and whether the death penalty has an effect on either. In the chart, the murder rate of Canada is on a scale that is tripled to show similar changes year to year. This chart is a decade old, but the murder rate in the US and Canada continued to drop in the newer data.
 

Murder rates US vs Canada 1950 - 2005 aa
Source: John J. Donohue III, Justin Wolfers, Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate, Discussion Paper No. 1949 (January 2006) available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=870312.
 

What about in the Good Ol’ Days, when everything was so much better than now?
 

Homicide rates (per 100,000 people) 14th - 20th centuries - Millennium by Ian Mortimer a
 

In the Good Ol’ Days, things were not good and few people lived long enough to get old.
 

I regularly criticize What if . . . ? fear mongering.

This is one of the greatest harms of EMS. We need to stop this dependence on scaring people with stories of monsters in closets. We need to deal with reality.

This fear mongering is lowering ourselves to the level of alternative medicine.
 

What will happen the first time someone in EMS shoots someone, fires a gun, points a gun at someone, or just brandishes a gun?

Was it justified?

What will the repercussions be?

When would any outcome have been better if EMS carried guns?

How would it have been better?

Assume that only 10% of the people in EMS who will carry guns on the job are below average (yes, that means that 90% are above average). How much trouble can that 10% cause?

Assume that only 1% are below average. How much trouble can that 1% cause with below average decisions?

There is nothing in this bill to prevent that 1% from carrying on every call. The carry license is both the floor and the ceiling for qualification for armed EMS.[2]
 

Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing we can do, but some people need to do something, even though there is no reason to expect it to do any good. This is another case of doing something just to do something.

If we are going to change how we do things, we should insist on thorough documentation of every intervention, just as we should for any other EMS intervention. The bill does not mention any kind of tracking of the effects of this legislation.[2]
 

Can employers require training/skills verification? Only possession of a valid carry license is mentioned. No further skill requirement is mentioned in the bill.[2]

What will happen to the insurance rates for the employer? Insurance companies are not looking to donate money to make EMS feel good.

Will people leave EMS in order to get away from partners they don’t trust with guns? How many do that now for bad driving?

Will we end up with more people who couldn’t get onto the police force, because lights and sirens and guns is better than lights and sirens?

Will EMS providers in Texas be told that this is a replacement for the raise they were going to get?

If some people feel unsafe without their guns, because they mistakenly believe that the murder rate is increasing, when it is definitely dropping, in what other ways are they making bad decisions? Will giving the confused fear of rising crime people guns act as a security blanket, so that they will feel safer and focus on their patients? Or will the confused fear of rising crime people use the guns to act on some other confusion? It probably won’t be that simple.
 

PS – Is this a Constitutional issue?

Employers are permitted to limit some other important civil rights, such as speech, during work hours. We can always choose to work in jobs that permit us to be armed on the job. Security guard, police officer, corrections officer

Of course corrections officers have to carry guns. They are surrounded by inmates.

Actually, corrections officers do not carry guns when they are around inmates. It seems that introducing a gun into that environment is not considered a good idea.

Footnotes:

[1] Texas bill would let firefighters, EMTs carry firearms – The bill would implement a statewide policy requiring jurisdictions to allow responders to carry while on duty
EMS1.com
Feb 14, 2017
By EMS1 Staff
Article

[2] Texas House Bill 982
Bill Text: TX HB982 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Introduced
TX State Legislature page for text of HB982

.

Hundreds of Medical Groups Send a Vaccine Safety Letter to the President

autism-organic
Image credit
 

The rate of autism diagnosis has increased dramatically as people eat more organic food, but that does not mean that organic food causes autism. The way to find out is to study this.

Researchers have looked for any reason to believe that vaccines, or vaccine ingredients, cause autism. The results are the same, regardless of whether the study is in America, Europe, Asia, . . . , and regardless of whether the study is run by private organizations, governments, corporations, or universities.[1]

For example, does thimerosal cause autism? Here is just one study looking for causation. There isn’t even a correlation.
 

CONCLUSIONS:
The discontinuation of thimerosal-containing vaccines in Denmark in 1992 was followed by an increase in the incidence of autism. Our ecological data do not support a correlation between thimerosal-containing vaccines and the incidence of autism.
[2]

 

If thimerosal causes autism, why does the rate of diagnosis of autism continue to increase after the removal of thimerosal?
 

Hundreds of medical organizations sent a letter to President Trump in an attempt to get the president to look at the evidence, rather than listen to the scientifically naive activists promoting conspiracy theories.
 

On behalf of organizations representing families, providers, researchers, patients, and consumers, we write to express our unequivocal support for the safety of vaccines.[3]

 

Unequivocal support means that they are completely confident that vaccines are safe, not that vaccines are 100% safe, Nothing is 100% safe, so demanding for 100% safety is an argument against everything – even breathing isn’t 100% safe.
 

Globally, vaccines prevent the deaths of roughly 2.5 million children per year.1 And, data shows that just for children born in the United States in 2009, routine childhood immunizations will prevent approximately 42,000 early deaths and 20 million cases of disease with savings of more than $82 billion in societal costs.2 [3]

 

Scare stories discourage us from doing what is best for our children.
 

RESULTS:
A greater than 92% decline in cases and a 99% or greater decline in deaths due to diseases prevented by vaccines recommended before 1980 were shown for diphtheria, mumps, pertussis, and tetanus. Endemic transmission of poliovirus and measles and rubella viruses has been eliminated in the United States; smallpox has been eradicated worldwide. Declines were 80% or greater for cases and deaths of most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980 including hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, Hib, and varicella. Declines in cases and deaths of invasive S pneumoniae were 34% and 25%, respectively.
[4]

 

Polio would have been eradicated by now, if it weren’t for the opposition of anti-vaxers.

Should we listen to those who, although they may mean well, do not understand what they are doing, or should we listen to doctors?

Doctors vaccinate themselves and their children because they understand that vaccines are safe and vaccines work.

Footnotes:

[1] 75 studies that show no link between vaccines and autism UPDATED to 107
Just the Vax
Friday, March 7, 2014
Edited to fix links and to add more studies for a new total of 107 on 11 March 2014
Guest blog, compiled by Allison Hagood, Luci Baldwin, Kathy McGrath and Nathan Boonstra and originally published on the “Your Baby’s Best Shot” Facebook page. I am grateful for the permission to repost!
List of studies

[2] Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data.
Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH, Mortensen PB.
Pediatrics. 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6.
PMID: 12949291

[3] Dear Mr. President:
February 7, 2017
AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Letter in PDF format

[4] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group..
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

Free Full Text from JAMA

.

Does use of Lights and Sirens save lives?

AmboLights
 

A recent Fire Chief Magazine and the current JEMS have some articles on the use of lights and sirens and the effect on patient outcomes. Doug Wolfberg, one of the EMS lawyers who might be trying to defend your choice on use of lights and sirens, states –
 

Few cows are more sacred in fire service based EMS than the ones that flash, wail and yelp. The use of emergency lights and sirens is an inseparable part of everyday EMS life.[1]

 

and –
 

Yet when we look at the actual evidence, a few things become apparent about RLS use. First, it’s proven to be dangerous. Second, it’s not proven to be beneficial.[2]

 

In another article, several of the top medical directors in the country state –
 

Unlike fire emergencies, which can grow exponentially and spread quickly, only a small subset of medical emergencies is truly time sensitive. Most don’t dramatically worsen in the course of a very few minutes, and they don’t spread from person to person.[3]

 

In rare cases, such as those where we are not able to control bleeding, or breathing, and the hospital is close enough that the patient won’t be dead by the time we get there, does use of lights and sirens save lives? In those rare cases? Sometimes.

Wouldn’t it be better to improve the quality of the people treating these patients, rather than increase the speed of transport?

When is the last time you transported a patient to the emergency department for something that needed to be done immediately to save the life of the patient?

Why not do that before transport?

Was it out of your scope of practice, did you not know what was going on, did you not feel comfortable performing the skill, could you not make up your mind about what to do, . . .?

Can’t place an endotraceal tube successfully? Use an LMA (Laryngeal Mask Airway), King Airway, BVM (Bag Valve Mask or resuscitator bag), stimulate the patient to breathe for himself, . . .

Can’t place an IV successfully? The IV is not a life line, but you can place an IO (IntraOssesous) line, apply direct pressure to bleeding, lay the patient flat (Trendelenberg does not improve things for the patient, although it might make you feel like you are doing something good), consider IM (IntraMuscular) or IN (IntraNasal) administration of medication, . . .

But it is an emergency!
 

We used to drive cardiac arrests to the hospital quickly, because we thought that was better.

We were wrong. If we do not resuscitate people prior to arrival at the hospital, they will probably stay dead. Driving fast just increases the odds that we will be as dead as the patient.

There has never been any good evidence to support driving fast.

We need to develop a better understanding of the treatment we provide. We need to provide better assessments (and continue to assess). We need to provide appropriate treatment on scene prior to transport. We need to rush less.
 

Do you believe in frequent lights and sirens transport?

Here is a dare for you.

Keep track of the times you transport with lights and sirens (these should be sentinel events) and document the actual life saving treatment provided in the emergency department in the first 10 minutes.

Keep track of this for a month, or a year.

Do you have anything?

Was it really something that saved the patient’s life?

If you do come up with something, does it amount to more than 1% of lights and sirens transports?

If we have almost always beenwrong about what is going on, should we be endangering everyone on the road to cover for our ignorance?

Footnotes:

[1] Why running lights and sirens is dangerous
Fire Chief
June 5, 2016
By Douglas M. Wolfberg, Esq.
Article

[2] Pro Bono: EMS Use of Red Lights and Siren Offers High Risk, Little Reward
JEMS
Wed, Feb 1, 2017
Doug Wolfberg
Article

[3] The Case Against EMS Red Lights and Siren Responses
JEMS
Wed, Feb 1, 2017
S. Marshal Isaacs, MD, FACEP, FAEMS , Carla Cash, MD , Osama Antar, MD , Raymond L. Fowler, MD, FACEP, DABEMS
Article

.

I helped a Naturopath kill my son, because I believe in Quackery

tamara-ryan-lovett1

 
Would you kill this kid?

Like clapping for Tinkerbell, killing children for superstition is part of keeping reality at bay.

Am I too harsh?

7 year old Ryan Lovett died of strep, meningitis, and pneumonia. His slow death, over 10 days, is reported to have been extremely painful. His death was also preventable with real medicine, so I am not even remotely harsh.

Ryan Lovett’s mother is a true believer in magic. Defending her irrational beliefs means avoiding everything that has valid evidence of benefit. Oddly, she did call 911, after her son started seizing. Ryan Lovett could not be resuscitated by EMS.

Ryan Lovett’s mother took him to a Naturopathic clinic for an echinacea mixture. Meanwhile, her neighbor, not trained in the deadly art of Naturopathy, was trying to convince Ryan Lovett’s mother to take Ryan to a real hospital.
 

La Pointe (Barbara La Pointe, a former friend of Lovett’s who used to take Ryan to her home on weekends) testified she visited Ryan and his mother the day before he died. She described Ryan as being “in a state of supreme suffering” and offered to take the mother and son to a hospital or doctor, but Lovett refused.[1]

 

Naturopaths claim that they will tell patients to go to a real doctor if the patient has a serious illness, which requires real medicine, not the usual self-limiting illness that patients recover from in spite of the Naturopath’s prescriptions.

Ryan Lovett will tell you that doesn’t work. No, Ryan Lovett can’t tell you, because nobody at Naturopathic clinic did what Naturopaths claim their extensive training in quackery prepares them to do – send the patient to a real doctor.

The neighbor was much smarter than everyone at the Naturopathic clinic, since she does not appear to have been indoctrinated in the death before medicine quackery of Naturopathy.
 

Ryan did not have a birth certificate and had never seen a doctor because his mother “did not believe in conventional medicine,”[1]

 

Evil conventional medicine? Pediatricians use evidence based medicine on their own kids and on themselves. They will even give you copies of research articles that show that their treatments do work. Medicine works even when the manufacturer is not able to influence the results of the research.
 


 

“The court specifically found that Tamara Lovett actually knew how sick he was and simply refused to do something and therefore gambled with his life,” he (Prosecutor Jonathan Hak) told reporters.[1]

 

That is a misunderstanding of medicine and gambling. Medicine is probabilistic. No treatment is 100% successful, so it depends on being prescribed for the right condition, in the right dose, having the fewest side effects, or having side effects that are least likely to make the patient worse, . . . , in order to make it more likely that the patient has a good outcome. That is gambling (putting the odds in the favor of the patient). Medical education is what helps the doctor, PA, NP, nurse, paramedic, EMT to assess the patient in a way that identifies the actual medical condition, to understand the risks and benefits of the available treatments, and to decide what is best for that individual patient.

Evidence-based medical education is better at putting the odds in favor of a good outcome than anything else.

Ryan Lovett’s mother wasn’t gambling, she was praying that her superstition had real magic powers. Maybe Ryan Lovett’s mother was praying that Ryan had a self-limiting illness, which would get better as long as the Naturopathic chemicals did not poison Ryan. Why take Ryan to the Naturopathic clinic at all, if the Naturopathic clinic just sells chemicals that are merely supposed to distract people and make the Naturopath money?
 

Doctors testified the infection would have been treatable had the boy, who also had meningitis and pneumonia, been taken to a doctor and given antibiotics.[1]

 

But this is just one rare case, so it is not fair to criticize Naturopaths for scamming the gullible. The Quack didn’t know the kid would die.
 

Canadians across the country have kept a close eye on the case. It is one of several in southern Alberta involving parents who were charged criminally after their children died of conditions that could have been treated with conventional medicine.[1]

 

Some people just can’t deal with reality.

Reality will eventually kill us, regardless of what we do. In the mean time, we can increase the odds of living a long healthy life by avoiding unnecessary treatment and limiting the treatments we do use to stuff that has valid evidence that it really works.

Footnotes:

[1] Tamara Lovett found guilty of negligence, failure to provide necessaries of life in death of 7-year-old son
By Meghan Grant, Drew Anderson,
CBC News
Posted: Jan 23, 2017 5:00 AM MT
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2017 5:33 PM MT
Article

.

2016 – Amiodarone is Useless, but Ketamine Gets Another Use

amiodarone-edit-1
 

I didn’t write a lot in 2016, but 2016 may have been the year we put the final nail in the coffin of amiodarone. Two major studies were published and both were very negative for amiodarone.

If we give enough amiodarone to have an effect on ventricular tachycardia, it will usually be a negative effect.[1]

Only 38% of ventricular tachycardia patients improved after amiodarone, but 48% had major adverse cardiac events after amiodarone.

There are better drugs, including adenosine, sotalol, procainamide, and ketamine for ventricular tachycardia. Sedation and cardioversion is a much better choice. Cardioversion is actually expected after giving amiodarone.

For cardiac arrest, amiodarone is not any better than placebo or lidocaine. What ever happened to the study of amiodarone that was showing such wonderful results over a decade ago? It still hasn’t been published, so it is reasonable to conclude that the results were negative for amiodarone. It is time to make room in the drug bag for something that works.[2],[3]

On the other hand, now that we have improved the quality of CPR by focusing on compressions, rather than drugs, more patients are waking up while chest compressions are being performed, but without spontaneous circulation, so ketamine has another promising use. And ketamine is still good for sedation for intubation, for getting a patient to tolerate high flow oxygen, for agitated delirium, for pain management, . . . .[4],[5]

Masimo’s RAD 57 still doesn’t have any evidence that it works well on real patients.[6]

When intubating, breathe. Breathing is good. Isn’t inability to breathe the reason for intubation?[7]

Footnotes:

[1] The PROCAMIO Trial – IV Procainamide vs IV Amiodarone for the Acute Treatment of Stable Wide Complex Tachycardia
Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[2] Amiodarone, Lidocaine, or Placebo in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
Mon, 04 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[3] Dr. Kudenchuk is Misrepresenting ALPS as ‘Significant’
Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[4] What do you do when a patient wakes up during CPR?
Tue, 08 Mar 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[5] Ketamine For Anger Management
Sun, 06 Mar 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[6] The RAD-57 – Still Unsafe?
Wed, 03 Feb 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[7] Should you hold your breath while intubating?
Tue, 19 Jan 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

.

‘Narcan by Everyone’ Does Not Seem to be Such a Good Idea

 
Now that we have almost everyone giving naloxone (Narcan) to suspected heroin overdose patients, the fatality rate must have dropped. The panacea must have worked. My criticism of the Narcan by Everyone programs must have made me a laughing stock.[1],[2],[3],[4]

No.

Does that mean that I am a prophet and that you should worship me?

No.

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong. H.L. Mencken.

I have been pointing out that the plans assumed that there would not be any unintended consequences. I explained what some of the unintended consequences would be. Many people used logical fallacies to justify ignoring the likelihood of unintended consequences. The reasonable thing to do would have been to study the implementation, so that problems would be noticed quickly.

Misdiagnosis – giving naloxone to people who have a change in level of consciousness that is not due to an opioid (heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl, . . . ) overdose.
 

Six of the 25 complete responders to naloxone (24%) ultimately were proven to have had false-positive responses, as they were not ultimately given a diagnosis of opiate overdose. In four of these patients, the acute episode of AMS was related to a seizure, whereas in two, it was due to head trauma; in none of these cases did the ultimate diagnosis include opiates or any other class of drug overdose (which might have responded directly to naloxone). Thus, what was apparently misinterpreted as a response to naloxone in these cases appears in retrospect to have been due to the natural lightening that occurs with time during the postictal period or after head trauma.[5]

Bold highlighting is mine.

 

Failure to ventilate – not providing ventilations to a patient who is not breathing. These patients are often hypoxic (don’t have enough oxygen to maintain life) and hypercarbic (have too much carbon dioxide to maintain life). If the patient is alive, ventilation should keep the patient alive, even if naloxone is not given or if the naloxone is not effective. If the patient is dead, giving naloxone will not improve the outcome.[6]

But . . . But . . . But . . . Narcan is the miracle drug!
 


Image credit.
 

In Akron, a small Ohio city, medical examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler has seen over 50 people die of carfentanil since July. Police Lieutenant Rick Edwards says his officers are “giving four to eight doses of [naloxone] just to get a response.”[7]

 

“Every day our paramedics start CPR on someone surrounded by empty naloxone vials… people give the naloxone and walk away,” she (Ambulance Paramedics of BC president Bronwyn Barter) said in an interview.[7]

 

Where should we start?
 

All patients considered to have opioid intoxication should have a stable airway and adequate ventilation established before the administration of naloxone.[8]

 

We keep making excuses for solutions that are neat, plausible, and wrong. Why don’t we start acting like responsible medical professionals and do what is best for our patients?
 

Thank you to Gary Thompson of Agnotology for linking to this for me.

Go read Response: ‘What happens when drugs become too powerful for overdose kits’

Footnotes:

[1] The Myth that Narcan Reverses Cardiac Arrest
Wed, 12 Dec 2012 20:45:29
Rogue Medic
Article

[2] Should Basic EMTs Give Naloxone (Narcan)?
Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:00:22
Rogue Medic
Article

[3] Is ‘Narcan by Everyone’ a Good Idea?
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 23:00:38
Rogue Medic
Article

[4] Is First Responder Narcan the Same as First Responder AED?
Wed, 18 Jun 2014 17:15:43
Rogue Medic
Article

[5] Acute heroin overdose.
Sporer KA.
Ann Intern Med. 1999 Apr 6;130(7):584-90. Review.
PMID: 10189329 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[6] The Kitchen Sink Approach to Cardiac Arrest
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 16:00:53
Rogue Medic
Article

[7] What Happens When Drugs Become Too Powerful for Overdose Kits?
Dr. Blair Bigham
Oct 4 2016, 12:11pm
Article

[8] Naloxone for the Reversal of Opioid Adverse Effects
Marcia L. Buck, PharmD, FCCP
Pediatr Pharm. 2002;8(8)
Medscape (free registration required?)
Clinical Uses

.

ABQ to Pay $.3 Million More for Bad Oversight of Bad Medic

 

It appears that bad management tolerated, and promoted, bad patient care – right up until it affected one of their own. Now the residents have to pay a lot of money for this failure of oversight.

How typical is this medic?
 

Throughout the litigation, Tate denied any wrongdoing. He maintained his work behavior was part of the “culture” of the Fire Department.[1]

 

AFD_logo
 

The AFD (Albuquerque Fire Department) disagrees and convinced at least one “hearing officer” that it is only because the rest of the paramedics are better than Tate that his patients did not have worse outcomes.

Does that make any sense?

I discussed the complaints at the time of an earlier article about Tate and AFD.[2]

If you work with a dangerous paramedic, and you do not report any problems, does that make you better than the problem paramedic?

How does such a dangerous paramedic get promoted to lieutenant?

Is it likely that competent management remained unaware of these problems for a decade, or that this was a sudden onset of an unprecedented problem, or that in some other way this is not an example of bad management?
 

Other organizations have had to deal with criticism after their management of the corruption was exposed –
 

The Vatican revealed Tuesday that over the past decade, it has defrocked 848 priests who raped or molested children and sanctioned another 2,572 with lesser penalties, providing the first ever breakdown of how it handled the more than 3,400 cases of abuse reported to the Holy See since 2004.[3]

 

For hundreds of years we have been told that priests don’t rape children, because they are more moral than the rest of us. Evidence has demonstrated otherwise, but the corrupt culture still discourages reporting these crimes to the police.

Is there some reason to believe that Tate is just one rotten apple?

No.

This appears to be another example of a corrupt culture, that will end up costing a lot more money and setting bad standards of care.

Are the patients surviving to the emergency department because of the care provided or just because most people will survive what EMS does to them?
 

Cadigan told the Journal in 2014 that he was confident Tate would be “vindicated when he has a neutral judge to review the city’s unfair and arbitrary action. The taxpayers will likely have to pick up the tab for this absurd witch hunt.”[1]

 

Vindicated for treating the family of a fellow AFD lieutenant the same way he would treat other patients?
 

Tate claimed his conduct was consistent with what he learned at the Fire Department and argued that even if he did commit the alleged acts, he should be given corrective training.[1]

 

Maybe Tate did receive corrective training.

Repeated reminders to fit in with the culture is how corruption works.

If the culture is not the problem, why did an investigation only begin after a complaint about Tate treating one of his own the same way he is reported to treat other patients?

Footnotes:

[1] $300K settlement keeps paramedic from getting job back
By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter
Saturday, April 2nd, 2016 at 11:45pm
Albuquerque Journal
Article

[2] How Do We Stop Dangerous Paramedics From Harming Patients?
Sat, 02 Nov 2013
Rogue Medic
Article

[3] Vatican says it’s punished over 3,400 priests since ’04 for raping or molesting children
The Associated Press
Published: 06 May 2014 03:56 PM
Updated: 06 May 2014 04:04 PM
The Dallas Morning News
Article

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