AMR following new set of instructions for patient care

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; A change in protocol has American Medical Response personnel feeling confident about the service they will soon be able to provide the Natchez area.

Starting Sept. 1, AMR paramedics will be abiding by a new instruction manual that allows them to do more in the field work than before, Field Supervisor Tim Houghton said.

Standard operating procedure for paramedics at most ambulance services is to call physicians before administering most treatments, Houghton said. But new protocols at AMR cut out that phone call and save valuable time, he said.

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&uot;Paramedics now are basically bringing the ER to you,&uot; Houghton said. &uot;Initial treatments are done in the field.&uot;

The Mississippi Department of Health issues minimum guidelines for ambulance protocol, but AMR took things a step further, Houghton said.

Currently Jackson and Natchez are the only AMR offices operating under the new standards.

&uot;It opens the door for us,&uot; Houghton said. &uot;Before I had to delay my care in order to call a physician, now I can start giving advance treatments.&uot;

AMR’s medics have to pass a 65-question test before being allowed in the field.

Their performance in the field is reviewed each month at random to ensure high quality.

Houghton said AMR added to the state’s required protocol making it more aggressive because they didn’t feel the minimum was good enough.

&uot;Nobody else has the level of care for protocols,&uot; Houghton said. &uot;We didn’t really feel like we were living up to what we should.&uot;

Jim Graves, public relations representative for Metro Rural Services, said he hadn’t seen AMR’s new protocol but that all ambulance services run under similar rules.

&uot;Everybody is basically going to be the same,&uot; Graves said.

&uot;The medic has to make a determination of what is wrong and anything out of the ordinary or exceptional, you run it by the doctor.&uot;

Graves said Metro updated its protocols three months ago.

AMR, Metro and Emergystat rotate ambulance calls in Natchez.