Over the past few decades the success of antibiotics has been impressive, yet this success is now being hindered by the emergence of a new threat: antibiotic resistance strains of bacteria and the birth of super bugs.
Although some historians argue the exact date, it was about 1928 when antibiotics, specifically penicillin, were discovered by bacteriologist Alexander Fleming in London. Subsequently, with the new found success of penicillin in treating infection, the global antibiotics race began. Today, care providers choose from dozens of antibiotics and they are being prescribed in very high numbers. At least 150 million antibiotic prescriptions are written in the United States each year!
Recently, a new study discussed by the Huffington Post finds that the antibiotics most commonly used to treat “resistant” bacteria, or methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), may actually make the infection worse. MRSA causes “staph” infections, a major public health threat and responsible for a growing number of serious illnesses and deaths, causing more than 80K infections and 11K deaths yearly. A recent Cell Host & Microbe article suggested that one common MRSA antibiotic treatment currently used may inadvertently activate the body’s own pathogen-defense system and actually worsen skin infections. Dr. Liu of Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles relayed that mice infected with MRSA who receive a beta-lactam antibiotic cocktail of penicillin derivatives “could end up being sicker than if they received no treatment at all”!
Right now about two million Americans develop hospital-acquired infections each year, and 99,000 die. About 75% begin in places such as nursing homes and doctors’ offices. The economic burden to the U.S. may be as high as $45 billion per year. We are at risk for a huge pandemic as resistant strains become more virulent throughout the world and the need for transport and treatment of patients increases. Click here for info on the Infectious Disease Kit.
A few weeks ago , Athena GTX exhibited at the National Tactical Officer Association (NTOA) conference in Louisville, KY. Since Athena is a company specializing in medical monitoring, and this is a conference for SWAT and Special Response Teams, our personnel was repeatedly asked, “Why are you here?”
As many of our readers may know, Athena GTX also exhibited at the Special Operations Medical Association Scientific Assembly (SOMA) in May, 2016. Since several civilian police and SWAT team members visited the booth it became clear to us that our product market is changing. This led to our attendance at the Tactical Officer Conference.
Active shooter situations and mass casualties such as Orlando and San Bernardino are becoming more commonplace. In these events, victims that received medical interventions sooner were more likely to survive the attack. These interventions included the ability to do more immediate triage, stopping the bleeding, and continuous medical monitoring. As joint task force teams are being created with police and EMS, medics are entering these active shooter situations earlier. Traditional EMS monitoring equipment is not designed for and thus is not up to the demands of these scenarios. However, what Athena provides is perfect!
The WVSM was designed specifically for active combat scenarios. Small in size, light in weight, easily carried, and patient worn, the WVSM moves with the medic and the patient. In addition, the WVSM wirelessly transmits patient data to a safe location outside of the danger zone up to 600 feet away, enabling monitoring of up to 20 patients simultaneously and automatically triages all patients based on user-set parameters. This ability allows the medic to keep their hands and mind free to engage in other tasks.
We understand most Tactical Officer conference attendees had never heard of us. Upon understanding the capability of our equipment, most officers became engaged and agreed we were indeed in the right place.
Tactical Medicine Lessons Learned from Iraq and…. Orlando
Current military statistics not only show that earlier awareness of patient status saves lives but also that the top three preventable causes of death are exsanguination, tension pneumothorax and suffocation. As we see the world changing around us, these injuries are now often occurring in situations faced by both police and emergency responders. With adequate training these injuries can be treated before EMS arrives and enters the scene if officers are trained for and use the appropriate equipment.
In an August 2016 Police Chief article, J.D. Pearce and S. Goldstein relate that, just as in the battlefield, hemorrhagic shock is a common issue faced in the law enforcement realm. Personnel are trained to recognize and treat shock as early as possible until extraction and transfer. Of those who experience one of the preventable causes of death, about half will die within 30 minutes and half of those in five. Without awareness of the critical nature of the injury, trending and adequate treatment, patient outcomes remain bleak.
The priority should be transporting the most injured person to the definitive care needed as fast as possible. Emergency personnel need to know who, when and why. Law enforcement personnel are able to recognize injuries and data should be available to them in circumstances in which they need to call for medevac response prior to the casualty being evaluated by a non–law enforcement EMS provider. Making the right decisions requires new tactical medicine training and highly mobile and connected tools. Teams are now recognizing the need to consider a life-changing paradigm shift in policing and have begun providing basic training with medical kits that allow for earlier awareness and intervention, as well as prioritization with the right tools at the right time. Check out the tactical medical monitoring kit at http://athenagtx.com/markets/law-enforcement-wireless-monitors/