The available data on EMS COVID-19 fatalities points to an increased risk over other healthcare and public safety personnel
The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic resonate around the world. Escalating infection and death rates are reported daily. While emergency medical services clinicians have been operating at the far forward front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic from the start, their infections, lost work time, long-term clinical manifestations and deaths have not been adequately reported or recorded . In this article, we examine currently available EMS COVID-19 mortality data in order to describe the extent of EMS losses and to compare the risks for EMS clinicians to the risks for other related professions.
Will an Ambulance Be Available When You Call?
Our emergency medical services professionals have been devastated by the pandemic.
By August 3, 35 emergency medical technicians and paramedics had died from the coronavirus nationwide, and the rate of COVID-19-fatalities for medics was about four times higher than the rate for firefighters.
Thousands of medics have been afflicted, many will never be able to return to their jobs. Now, across the country, many medics are retiring and resigning, and EMS agencies are struggling to staff ambulances.
Immediate action is needed to save the EMS system.
The Ethics of PPE and EMS in the COVID-19 Era
Coronavirus, Equipment & Gear, Exclusives
Second, we give voice to the urgent need for a national dialogue to address the needs of EMS clinicians and leaders. We present key questions that must be answered to improve the future structure of the profession and the safety of all personnel.
These are times that are putting EMS to the test. These are times that will define the future of EMS.
While 911 shouldn’t be abused, in a true emergency, ER staff encourages you not to attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. According to Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD, “If you are acutely ill or injured, are having trouble breathing, chest pain or experiencing extreme weakness, call 911 or your local emergency medical services number. Lifesaving treatment can begin before arriving in the ER.”
Quoted in “Lawyer + Settlements” excerpt:
“LEVELS OF CARE
Brianna’s care was billed as “Level 3” which means a health problem- such as fractures or signs of infections- is significant but not life threatening. Most hospitals are based on a five level triage system, with five being the most severe. Dr. Kathleen Handal explains that there are commonly three levels of ERs:
Highest level ER, indicating the ability to give definitive, rapid care for all critical emergency situations; usually associated with a teaching hospital. Resources within the hospital (diagnostic and intensive care units) can continue to care for these patients. Level 1 trauma centers have an in-house trauma surgeon and on-call specialists available, as well as an open operating room.
The ER can care for most emergencies. All specialties are on-call and available within 60 minutes; usually no residents on staff. Emergency medicine (EM) doctor cares for patient until back-up specialist responds to the request for assistance. In-hospital resources are limited.
Treatment by EM doctors. Not all specialties available to come to ER to help. Patient will be stabilized and transported to an appropriate care facility. Trauma patients will be transferred to another hospital that is equipped to handle the trauma.”
Wednesday, 9/28: Your last chance to see a doctor present SEE INSIDE YOUR BODY to KidsRead 3rd Graders
As you may know, for the first time ever, KidsRead USA has asked area physicians to present its September book to the 720 third-graders of the Osborn and Balsz school districts.
At 12:30 this Wednesday, Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD will be at Longview School to present SEE INSIDE YOUR BODY, an illustrated medical guide purchased through the generosity of the Whiteman Foundation.
This is the last of the seven presentations held in September to celebrate KidRead’s 20th anniversary and National Literacy Month.
You are invited to be our guest at this very special presentation. No need to RSVP, just show up, go to the office to sign in, and then join us in the library. Longview is at 1209 E. Indian School, entrance on 12th street, south of Indian School. It’s a great school. Mr. Benjamin Smith is the principal.
You’ll enjoy the experience, I promise you. Call if you have any questions. Otherwise, see you there in a couple of days. It only lasts a half-hour so be there right at 12:30. I’ll see you there. if you can make it.
Panelist C. Schwab Women Investing Event
Doc Handal participated as one of three women on a panel addressing financial empowerment in women. This professional session for Personal consultants concluded an all day event for over 150 employees of C. Schwab at the Hyatt Hotel, Phoenix AZ.
New York Academy Medicine Recognition Kathleen Handal, MD for 30 Years of Professional Endeavors
“In 1982 Dr. Handal became the first Emergency Medicine specialist to become a Fellow of the NYAM
Dr. Kathleen Handal received her medical degree from the Drexel University College of Medicine (1971). She completed her Emergency Medicine internship and residency at Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1978) and subsequently received board certification in Emergency Medicine. She served as an oral examiner for the American Board of Emergency Medicine for decades.
Dr. Handal taught and practiced in the Emergency Department as Chief of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish (NSLIJ) Hospital (11/79-5/85). She started the NSLIJ EM Residency Program. In 1985 she became Director, Emergency, at then Doctor’s Hospital, New York, NY
She has had leadership roles at the national and local levels. As a member of the American College of Emergency Medicine (ACEP), she served on numerous national committees including Chair of EMS Committee. She represented the ACEP internationally and nationally; including at the AMA Commission on EMS and as a member of the Board of Director at the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Over the years, she has served on numerous federal grants involving EM/EMS, notably, she Chaired the New York City Trauma Center Designation, and definition of the national curriculum for pre-hospital care personnel – Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedic. “
“I am a writer and editor, and I had the great good fortune of working with Dr. Handal on the AMERICAN RED CROSS FIRST AID AND SAFETY HANDBOOK. After years of working in hospital emergency rooms, Doc Handal has an uncanny ability to immediately grasp all the different aspects of a medical situation. She cares so much about her patients that what she would really like to do is keep them OUT of the emergency room if at all possible! Her books are based on compassion and real-life experience.”
Nellie Sabin, Freelance writer, and editor; book doctor, Newport, Rhode Island
Reader’s Favorite Award 5 Stars to “Doc’s First Aid Guide”
“Simple, straight, and to-the-point, “Doc’s First Aid Guide” by Kathleen A. Handal, MD, is an easy-to-use reference book that you could keep handy in your glove compartment, a kitchen drawer, or your office desk drawer. She emphasizes that the steps taken during the first few minutes of a medical emergency situation are critical and suggests that people read this book BEFORE they need it. I think she is right. I am such a geek, I even read my car owner’s manual from cover to cover before driving the car.
The formatting is logical and makes it very easy to instantly find the information you need for the type of emergency situation that you are experiencing. After the initial general information section, Dr. Handal provides the ABC’s of CPR, which everyone should learn how to administer, and then goes into the First Aid situations. I am so glad that you presented the information in alphabetical order as it makes it much easier to locate just what you need. The First Aid section covered topics from Allergic Reaction to Burns to Choking to Heat Exposure to Unconsciousness with dozens of topics in between.
Last but not least, she includes emergency first-aid techniques, a first aid kit checklist, and an emergency information info sheet. There are good diagrams included throughout the guide that show the reader how to perform the first aid being described. I appreciate how she included both the “What To Do” boxes as well as the “Do Not” icons to help guide the reader in an emergency.”
Writers Unite to Fight Cancer
DocHandal will be one of the over 30 authors at the Writers Unite to Fight Cancer Arizona Centennial Cancer Research Fundraiser to be held Arizona Biltmore Hotel Feb.2, 2012.
Each guest will receive a complimentary gift bag that will include the book Five to Thrive. There will several items available for silent auction, and music will be provided by Jocelyn Obermeyer, certified therapeutic harp practitioner from Hospice of the Valley.
Each author will donate $1.00 per book sold at this event toward the two Arizona-Based Cancer Research Programs designated as equal beneficiaries for this fundraiser.
1.) Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, collaboratively with Arizona State University under the direction of Robert Waters PhD.
2.) The University of Arizona Cancer Center natural product research program directed by Dr. Leslie Gunatilaka.
NAMC May 2010 Book Club Feature: Doc’s First Aid Guide
Reviewed by Sari Fine Shepphird, Ph.D.
“As a healthcare professional I am always on the lookout for valuable resources that make a contribution to improving family health and safety, and I have recently made a discovery that I could not wait to recommend! The Doc’s First Aid Guide by Kathleen A. Handal, M.D. is a must-have resource for every home, office, clinic, and community center. In this invaluable e-book, Handal, who also authored The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook, provides an easy to use, clear, and practical guide to first aid and safety that is among the best I have ever seen.
What sets this resource from other first aid guides? First, the situational instructions are easy to follow. No more trying to dissect instructions in order to understand what is really important in each safety situation. Handal’s concise guide takes out all of the guess work, telling the reader exactly what to do and what not to do when first aid situations arise. Second, helpful illustrations enhance written instructions, providing that extra measure of confidence for critical situations when clarity is imperative. Third, the guide is organized so that the reader can find instructions quickly. A poor layout in a first aid guide can certainly cause confusion, potentially leaving users feeling anxious in moments when calm is a necessity, but the exceptional clarity and organized presentation in Doc’s First Aid Guide allows the reader to feel at ease when accessing vital information, thus minimizing distractions and allowing for attention to be given to whatever medical emergency may be at hand. Important issues such as Universal Precautions are included, along with reminders about CPR, first aid, and safety basics that make this an excellent go-to guide for training healthcare staff of all levels. Parents, baby-sitters, and other care-takers will find this guide just as useful as will healthcare workers, teachers, coaches.
Among the many recommendations we hear for what to include in an earthquake kit, first aid kit, or disaster response kit, there are some basics that are always included: a flashlight, batteries, 3 day supply of food and water, bandages, and a blanket. Let me add something else that every first aid kit should have – the Doc’s First Aid Guide! From splinting, to suspected fume inhalation, from bites and burns to bleeding, from choking to chest pain, from heat exposure to heart attack; if you are looking for the perfect addition to every first aid kit, safety training protocol, and home/ office emergency guide, I can think of no better resource to include than the Doc’s First Aid Guide.”
From the Doc’s First Aid Guide:
“In this book you’ll find easy-to-follow instructions on how to help in the more common medical emergencies. You’ll learn what to do and what not to do if you’re the first one on the scene. So familiarize yourself with this material before an incident occurs. And keep in mind that reading this information is no substitute for formal instruction and practice. Not every possible medical emergency situation is presented in this guide. Note: blue text within the document indicates topics you can easily reference from the Table of Contents. Visit www.DocHandal.com for more information about Doc’s First Aid Guide
After spending 30 years in emergency medicine, Kathleen A. Handal, MD believes that a good dose of medical common sense is what’s needed to keep people healthy and safe. “Too often, the people who lack basic knowledge of how their bodies work come to the emergency department when they are in crisis with problems that should have been addressed sooner. As medical educators we can change this by providing correct medical information, starting at a young age,” says Handal”
National Association of Medical Communicators -NAMC
Spotlight: Kathleen A. Handal, MD
“Her website, Dochandal.com, serves as a base for her many consumer education endeavors. Handal is a frequent host and co-host on talk-radio health shows. She has also appeared on CNN and the Today Show. Her medical emergencies in the workplace video won a bronze medal in the International Cindy Competition and was a Telly Award finalist. She has co-authored a series of ECG textbooks for Delmar Publishing. Handal was invited to become the first Emergency Medicine Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine where she remains involved.
Along with providing information on her books and videos, her web site offers articles and quizzes for adults and children that are aimed at fine-tuning their medical commons sense. “Acting on and living in sync with our bodies can result in so many benefits throughout life. Ideally, we incorporate health knowledge about our changing bodies as we age so by adulthood we have a solid foundation of information and keen medical common sense.”
As part of her dedication to public education, she wrote, directed and produced “Trauma Run”, a nationally distributed video for children in grades K2-6. The video, produced in Spanish and English, teaches children how to respond to a medical emergency when no adults are available. “We staged a bike accident in the desert outside of Phoenix. To help alleviate children’s fears about riding in an ambulance and being seen by a doctor in an emergency room, we attached a small camera to our young patient’s head so the kids viewing the program could see it from the perspective of the patient,” says Handal.
Handal’s first book, “The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook“, (Little, Brown & Co. 1992) was written for the lay audience. The launch for this book included a multi-media publicity tour of ten major cities. “It was a great experience. I was able to talk to a lot of people about the value of learning first aid,” says Handal.
Her latest endeavor is the launch of Doc Handal Guides, an affordable series of medical books on topics written for laypersons. The first book in the series focuses on her emergency medicine expertise. “Doc’s First Aid Guide” (Spanish and English) outlines the steps a person should take in a variety of emergency situations. E-versions (Kindle) are available through Amazon. A French version, written with Dr. Nicolas Dufeu, Director of Ambulatory Surgery, Sainte-Antione Hospital (Paris) will be available soon.
“Doc’s Emergency Room Guide” is being written to help consumers gain optimal care during an emergency room visit. “I think it is important for people to understand what’s going on behind the scenes in a busy emergency room. This book will help you ask the right questions at the right time,” says Handal.
“Doc’s Home Care Guide” is also in the pipeline. This book covers a variety of home care topics but is unique because it is written by a doctor who put her own career on hold for five years to care for her ill father. Handal shares the many hands-on strategies that she researched and developed. “Simple steps, like using wrist bands for seasickness to prevent nausea, helped a great deal. Skin care is also a big issue. We never had any problems with bed sores because of the care plan I developed,” says Handal.
Handal believes that comedy is also an excellent venue for teaching medical common sense. She enrolled in stand-up comedy classes and has performed in comedy clubs in the Phoenix area. “Doctor. Writer. Talk show host. Comedian. I’ll do whatever it takes to get people to learn some medical common sense.” For more information on her work, visit DocHandal.com.”
“Health Tests Demystified”
‘Mention all over-the-counter and prescription medications and supplements that you are take when scheduling as they can effect the results’…. ‘Avoid caffeine and decongestants before hand, as both can raise pressure. wear comfortable clothes and ideally layers or a sleeveless top for easy access to your arm’… during test: to minimize discomfort ask that blood be drawn form your non-dominant arm… “white coat hypertension” is a phenomenon of elevated blood pressure readings only when around medical personnel says expert Kathleen Handal emergency medicine