Spinal Immobilization Update

The death watch for spinal immobilization on a long backboard continues to gain steam. There are two excellent articles in EMS World magazine questioning the evidence behind this ancient EMS torture custom.

The Evidence Against Backboards

Does Spinal Immobilization Matter?

Rogue Medic has had two recent articles on the issue.

Where is the Evidence for Spinal Immobilization?

NAEMSP Position Paper on Spinal Immobilization

Here in Connecticut, the Connecticut EMS Medical Advisory Committee (CEMSMAC) has passed a sweeping guideline change modeled largely after the Alameda County (California) Spinal Motion Restriction Guidelines. The guideline still needs to be approved by the statewide EMS Advisory Board, which is scheduled to meet next in September, and then with the expected approval there, needs only the signature of the state Public Health Commissioner. I also hear that New Hampshire may be close to approving a similar guideline.

In the meantime in Connecticut we have been, in our region and in many of the state’s systems, utilizing a new guideline that eliminates the need to use a long backboard for ambulatory patients. If a patient is in a car crash or falls down some stairs and are up and walking on your arrival, they only need a cervical collar (if they have neck or back pain or meet immobilization criteria), and can then sit more comfortably on the stretcher. No need for a backboard. This has been quite successful and there have been no patient care issues that I have heard about.

I will keep you posted.

***

Alameda County Spinal Injury Assessment

Alameda County Spinal Motion Restriction

1 Comment

  • It’s high time we addressed the science on this matter and adopted best practices based on the evidence and not fear on a nonexistent boogeyman.

    I’ve been giving my “Protocol Directed Torture” lecture around the country for ten years now, and it still amazes me how many EMTs think this is new information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

Peter Canning

Recent Posts
Categories
  • ems-health-safety (7)
  • ems-topics (697)
  • hazmat (1)
  • Uncategorized (407)
  • Comments
    Mark J. Tenerowicz
    Patient Handover
    I am an ED doc and EMS medical director and I expect but don't demand that my crews leave their run form before clearing. Failure to do so should be the exception, not the rule. I realize services operate in the real world of limited resources and unpredictable calls. If it being done at the…
    2014-07-16 19:57:46
    David
    Patient Handover
    The techie in me dreams there may be a technological solution, with seamless integration of pre-hospital and inpatient charts, live updating, maybe even voice recognition that would be almost like dictation, getting everything in the correct fields in the software ... then I wake up, snort and chuckle a little. Seriously though, does anyone out…
    2014-06-27 23:54:42
    Dan
    Patient Handover
    Make it so I don't have 6 cords to choose from and the driver for the printer works from HH to JMH to Children's to RGH and maybe I won't fax every single runform in. But I have been saying that for years.
    2014-05-24 18:05:52
    KellyCormier
    Patient Handover
    Peter, This is a fight that I, just like yourself and so many others have looked at in my EMS history of 25 years.I'm in a pretty unique situation as a former provider, a wife of a firefighter and someone who works with medic and firefighters across the country. I have developed a different type…
    2014-05-15 21:39:31
    Vincent
    Old Paramedics
    Hi all, I have been in well above average fitness level all my life. Three years ago, while following an EMR class, I developed the taste for First Aid work. Since then I have work in the Oil/Gas industry, and volunteer to sport events and concerts now trying to finish my PCP-IV. I have to…
    2014-05-01 00:41:50

    Now Available: Mortal Men

    Mortal Men is available as an electronic book for Kindle, Nook or any other e-reader. Here is a link to some of the places to buy it. The book sells for $3.99. Barnes and Noble Amazon Smashwords Scribd Also Available from iBooks

    Order My Books

    Support EMS Bloggers, Buy Their Books

    Google

    Order Books and Movies

    FireEMS Blogs eNewsletter

    Sign-up to receive our free monthly eNewsletter

    LATEST EMS NEWS

    HOT FORUM DISCUSSIONS