This case involves a 46-year-old man who suffered severe injuries while being transported by EMS. The ambulance was traveling at 65 mph and made a sharp right turn and overturned. The patient who was on the stretcher was thrown against the ambulance wall. As a result of the accident, the patient suffered additional chest and back injuries for which he required physical therapy. It was alleged that the patient was not properly secured to the stretcher. An expert in EMS transport and ambulance services was sought to review the case and identify if the patient was secured appropriately and if the injury could have been prevented.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience securing patients in ambulances.
- 2. What are the safety protocols to ensure that patients are not injured as described in this case?
Expert Witness Response E-060125
I have 25+ years in ground and helicopter EMS and I have safely secured and transported thousands of patients to various locations. I have transported patients in a wide range of vehicle types and on the most commonly found EMS stretchers. Prior to use of stretchers, the EMT or paramedic should have been given an in-service to the particular stretcher by the EMS agency in question. The in-service should include a review of the manufacturer’s operating guidelines and safety recommendations. Patients should fall within the specified weight rating of the stretcher. Depending on stretcher manufacturer the patient should be secured with at least 3 cross belts and shoulder harness. Patients should be secured in the ambulance utilizing the manufacturer securing hardware.