** South African medics in Cape Town to see panic buttons installed in ambulances
** Victoria, Australia trials country’s first stroke ambulance
SOUTH AFRICA NEWS
** South African paramedics in Cape Town will soon have in-ambulance panic buttons installed to alert police when they feel threatened during calls. That is the word from Eyewitness News (Lauren Isaacs/November 10) which said the buttons, which are expected to be in place by June, would alert all the mobile devices police serving on the streets that particular day have. According to the news site, health authorities instituted the move after the death of an 8-year-old boy during an ambulance ambush last week. Though the child was not directly harmed by the criminals, he died after his hospital transport was delayed when the EMS unit was disabled. Along with panic buttons, EMS brass are also designating safe zones for prehospital responses. Paramedic Chantal Beesley who was on the call with the 8-year-old, meanwhile, said she did not believe the changes would help matters. Beesley said officials often talk about solutions, but rarely implement them.
** Victorian ambulance brass are marking an Australia first by setting up a mobile stroke ambulance complete with CT scanner and radiographer. ABC News (Joanna Crothers/November 12) said the unit would also be staffed by two paramedics. According to the news site, the $1.5 million rig is expected to boost stroke patient survival rates and will treat about 3,000 patients annually. The unit will operate within a 20 mile radius of Royal Melbourne Hospital and will run as part of a trial between now and 2021. Hospital Director of Neurology Professor Stephen Davis said studies have shown a mobile stroke unit can speed up treatment of a stroke patient by up to 45 minutes. Stroke is Australia’s leading cause of disability. One in six people in Victoria will experience a stroke at some time in their life.