For 8 years biweekly ambulance critique review sessions have evaluated performance and discussed management of cases brought to our hospital by ambulance. Over 500 cases reviewed have centered primarily on evaluation and care at the scene and its possible relation to outcome.
Problems which have recurred on the scene include whether the patient would have benefited from less time in stabilization and immobilization; manipulation of deformed fractures for splinting; use of tourniquets; techniques of airway maintenance; and management of infrequently seen problems such as hypothermia and drowning.
Interaction problems with physicians on the scene and in the Emergency Room (ER) come from questioning physician authority even without specific knowledge of the appropriate techniques of emergency care. A related problem is lack of ER staff familiarity with Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) procedures and ambulance equipment.
The value of critique review sessions has been seen in improved rapport and interaction among ER staff and ambulance personnel. Improved outcome needs to be assessed in a carefully controlled study. The enthusiasm and attendance of ER staff and ambulance personnel has grown and endured over 8 years. The review sessions have spread to other area hospitals with some success.