What’s helping some people with brain injuries?

Health Watch

The excellence in pre-hospital injury care, or “epic” project turned traumatic brain injury training upside down for paramedics and EMT’s in Arizona.

Arizona first responders relearned how to treat brain-injured patients, and the effect has been phenomenal.

Alexandria Matthews says, ” I thought my son was dead, just based on the impact. I thought, there’s no way that he could have survived because the whole back end was crushed up to our backs. ”

But Arizona paramedic Alexandria Matthews had her “epic” training the week before and turned from mom to first responder.

Alexandria Matthews, a paramedic says, ” By not allowing my son to be hypoxic as soon as he was in my arms, I started breathing for him, I think plays a huge factor in how he is today and that he doesn’t have the deficits that he probably would. ”

“Epic” is the first major pre-hospital intervention project for TBI and it shows that early treatment is critical.

Daniel Spaite, MD, an endowed research professor of Emergency Medicine says, ” To have survival not just change by ten percent, but by 100 percent increase in survival is really remarkable. “

The protocol prevents the three H’s: hypoxia, hypotension or low fluid, and hyperventilation.

That’s the opposite of what’s been taught for decades.

” The reason it dropped intracranial pressure is, unfortunately, it causes constriction in the arteries, so you don’t get a good flow to the brain when you hyperventilate, ” continues Dr. Spaite.

Sean Culliney has trained thousands of EMT’s and paramedics.

” When the patient would talk to the surgeon, and the surgeon said this all happened before you got here, this happened pre-hospital, that’s when our guys really started to grab hold of it, ” says Sean Culliney, a paramedic.

Alexandria Matthews believes.

” My little boy, I get to go home to him every single day, so I want to give people the opportunity to do that as well, ” continues Alexandria Matthews.

Doctor Spaite says many EMS systems in other states are implementing the protocol, which is available online.

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