There is a much more thorough discussion of these papers on the podcast.
The papers covered are:
Resuscitation on television: realistic or ridiculous? A quantitative observational analysis of the portrayal of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in television medical drama.
Harris D, Willoughby H.
Resuscitation. 2009 Nov;80(11):1275-9. Epub 2009 Aug 20.
PMID: 19699021 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].
Presented by Rob Theriault.
This study raises a lot of interesting questions about the way that people learn about making end of life decisions, what they anticipate the outcome of resuscitation will be, and even how medical professionals may respond to skills presented in TV medical dramas.
Dismissing TV dramas as trivial ignores the effect that they may have on members of the audience, up to and including doctors.
The Canadian prehospital evidence-based protocols project: knowledge translation in emergency medical services care.
Jensen JL, Petrie DA, Travers AH; PEP Project Team.
Acad Emerg Med. 2009 Jul;16(7):668-73.
PMID: 19691810 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].
Presented by Joe Clark.
This is a study that deserves several posts to cover, so I will not even start here. As with the other studies, this paper is discussed on the podcast.
My impression is that this resource is wonderful. If you know of a relevant paper that they do not cover on the site, send them a link to it. As with all of science, this will always be a work in progress, but that is certainly not a bad thing.
Effectiveness of paramedic practitioners in attending 999 calls from elderly people in the community: cluster randomised controlled trial.
Mason S, Knowles E, Colwell B, Dixon S, Wardrope J, Gorringe R, Snooks H, Perrin J, Nicholl J.
BMJ. 2007 Nov 3;335(7626):919. Epub 2007 Oct 4.
PMID: 17916813 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].
Presented by Bill Toon.
In the US, we have studies that show an inability of the medics (at least the medics in US studies) to be able to safely direct patients to alternative destinations, such as an appointment with a general practitioner. Is the basic EMS education difference, between the US and the UK, the reason?
This study does show that specially trained experienced paramedics can identify stable patients and safely direct these patients to more appropriate resources than the Emergency Department (Accident & Emergency in the UK).
This is an education program that appears to focus on critical judgment, rather than protocol adherence. If done the right way, this should be good for patients, and therefore good for EMS and hospitals.
The full text PDFs of the three papers discussed on the podcast are available for free (until the next EMS EduCast Journal Club) at the Journal Club page of the EMS Educast.
^ 1 Positioning prior to endotracheal intubation on a television medical drama: perhaps life mimics art.
Brindley PG, Needham C.
Resuscitation. 2009 May;80(5):604. Epub 2009 Mar 18. No abstract available.
PMID: 19297069 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Inadequate positioning of the head and neck was especially prevalent prior to intubation attempts, and improving this was seen as a simple but important first step.
As part of ongoing nationwide efforts to ensure basic resuscitation skills5 we explored all potential causes for the inadequate positioning, and this included trainees’ prior experiences. Many trainees reported limited supervision or hands-on training. Remarkably, however, when asked how they had therefore learned, after “trial and error”, a surprising number answered that television medical dramas had been an important inﬂuence.
Of the remaining 22, none (0/22) achieved more than one, let alone all three, components of optimal airway positioning. In terms of individual components, the lower cervical-spine was ﬂexed in 0/22, the atlanto-occipital joint extended in 1/22, and the ears level with the sternum in only 3/22 cases.
While few would suggest that medical dramas can be held responsible for physician performance, it has been previously suggested that they can significantly inﬂuence beliefs.6, 7
This does show that ignoring the effect of medical dramas has the potential to be harmful to patients.