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The Unexpected Factor

by Lux Joseph 28. October 2014
Commercial Medical Escorts is privledged to have David E. Hogan, RN, EMT-P as a member of our medical escort team. David exemplifies one of the best medical escorts and has been with Commercial Medical Escorts since CME started. There isn't a month that goes by in which the office does receive a compliment or positive feedback from a patient that was transported by David. David has taken the time to share with us an experience he had on a medical escort mission to Tanzania and how he meets the challenges of this job with an open mind.
 
By: David E. Hogan, RN, EMT-P
 
Even with the best plans for every medical transport there are issues that come up from time to time.  I refer to these issues as the “unexpected factor” or, simply, the uF.  One has to remain calm, be flexible and communicate when they do appear.  This is the story of one such occurrence.
 
During a scheduled transport from Tanzania in Eastern Africa to Texas an unexpected factor occurred as a result of Mother Nature doing her thing.  Two days prior to my arrival in Arusha, Tanzania there was a heavy downpour of rain high in the mountains near the area of the Serengeti Plains.  Little did I know that this little event would directly affect my transport for the patient. 
 
The morning following my arrival in Arusha I was to be transported by ground to the patient’s location during an expected 3-hr roundtrip.  The trip began early on a beautiful morning in Africa.  After a brief encounter with an Arusha traffic jam, complete with cars, numerous motorbikes and herded animals including cows, sheep and goats we made our way out to the highway heading towards Karatu.
 
 
We passed miles of lush green farm and pastureland dotted with numerous Masai village homesteads. 
 
 

At approximately 2/3 of the way to Karatu my driver received a cell phone call notifying him that the one and only bridge to Karatu was washed away.  We immediately turned back to Arusha and I made contact with the company regarding this unexpected factor.  The driver had mentioned to me at this point that there was a small commuter airport near Arusha.  He then contacted his company to inquire about the availability of their services for our transport needs to reach Karatu.  During our return all the necessary arrangements were made and confirmation was received for my flight over and the return with the clients via the small commuter line.  We proceeded to the little Arusha airstrip and I quickly obtained a boarding pass for the flight to the Lake Manyari Airport, approximately 35-40 minutes from the medical clinic where the patient was being treated. 
 

After a short flight via a twin-engine prop plane I arrived to an awaiting driver.  He quickly made his way to the clinic as I noticed several areas where the flood waters had just receded.  Many of the streets were mud-covered and there was little traffic out. 

 
Shortly after our arrival at the clinic and my assessment of the patient we headed back to the Lake Manyari Airport for our flight, arriving some 10 – 15 minutes before the scheduled departure back to Arusha.
 

 

We quickly stored and secured their baggage and the medical equipment for the return flight and departed without delay.  During the short flight back we flew over the affected areas and could clearly see homes and roads washed away.
 
Safely arriving back at the Arusha Airport, we then made our way to the hotel for our overnight stay prior to an early morning departure the next day.  The original itinerary was resumed and we eventually arrived back in Texas many hours later.  Once we reached their home, which was the final destination, I assisted with the setup of the Oxygen Concentrator and gave instructions to both the patient and her spouse. She had a previously scheduled appointment with her doctor on the following day and she needed to have oxygen during the night.  That was the conclusion of a successful transport.   This with completed safely and without any further incidents after the initial uF regarding the washed-out bridge and roadway. 
 
The issue of this unexpected factor was handled calmly and without any delay in the remainder of the patient’s itinerary. In summary, even the best plans could have some unexpected factors appear.  One has to remember to exercise calm and proceed with due diligence, communicating the proper information so that a successful alternative can be reached.  This action is vital when our goal is to successfully complete our patient transports.
 
At Commercial Medical Escorts we do our best to prepare our escorts for any challenges or obstacles they may encounter during a journey, but as David has described to us, there are still things that happen our of our control. All of our escorts are trained to handle situations in a calm manner as David described. We believe in deliverying only the highest quality of service and this is accomplaished through excellenc training, high quality nurses, physicians, and paramedics, and an extremely effective operations team.
 

 

 

 

 

Prevent RX Abuse Among Youth

by Lux Joseph 17. October 2014

Last week we informed you about October being breast cancer awareness month, but did you know that October is also National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Prescription medicine—a critical piece of our cultural fabric—“a pill for every ill”—all you have to do is turn on the TV, listen to the radio or view ads on the Internet or in the newspaper to see and hear about the latest medicine that can cure migraines, treat pain and stress, keep you more alert, help you sleep or address depression. We walk that fine line between ensuring access to needed medications to preventing misuse/abuse and addiction.

Commercial Medical Escorts encourages you to educate children and young people about the realities and dangers of prescription drug abuse. By educating the youth we can increase our chances of preventing them from starting to abuse psychotherapeutics in the first place. The statistics can be shocking including: 

  • The rate of current illicit drug use among people aged 12 or older was higher for males (11.6 percent) than for females (6.9 percent). Males were more likely than females to be current users of several different illicit drugs, including nonmedical users of psychotherapeutic drugs (2.8 versus. 2.4 percent).
  • Among 16 or 17 year olds, 4.0 percent used psychotherapeutic drugs nonmedically (with 3.1 percent using pain relievers nonmedically); prescription medications came in second to marijuana.
  • The rate of current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 was 5.3 percent. The rate of current nonmedical use of pain relievers among young adults in 2012 was 3.8 percent.
  • The rate of current illicit drug use among adults aged 26 or older was 7.0 percent, including rates of 5.3 percent for current use of marijuana and 2.1 percent for current nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs.

Source: 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

The good news is that nationally, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs declined from 4.0 percent in 2002 to its current levels. While we can say, “great job,” we need to remember that

  • Many teens and young adults still believe that Rx medicines are safer to abuse than illegal drugs.
  • These medicines are easy to get—about 54 percent of those abusing these medicines obtain them from friends and relatives.
  • Approximately 2000 teens misuse or abuse Rx drugs for the first time each day (NIDA FOR TEENS).

As such, some teens and young adults will fall down that slippery slope of abuse and addiction. And before you can say, “Not my child,” you may find yourself saying, “it is my child—now what?”

Be a part of the solution. CME encourages parents to lock up your medications and properly dispose them when they’re no longer needed. Then, get involved. Talk with your teen or young adult.

In this age of a “pill for every ill,” we live in a society where the potential for prescription drug abuse and addiction is ever-present. Among teens and young adults, next to marijuana, Rx drugs are abused the most. According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.8 million people or 2.6 percent of the population were unmedical users of Rx medicines in 2012.  Out of this number, 2.8 percent represent young people, aged 12-17. Data also tells us that they’re abusing pain relievers, depressants and stimulants to go to sleep, wake up, stay alert and/or get high.

We see the more visible signs of Rx abuse every day:

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman—died of a heroin overdose, triggered by an addiction to prescription pain medicines.
  • Whitney Houston—died of an overdose of cocaine and prescription drugs.
  • Heather Ledger—died of an overdose of sleeping pills—both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Brian “Crush” Adams (professional wrestler) and Ken Caminiti (1996 Most Valuable Player-played for Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves)—died of prescription drug overdose.

Some key side effects of abuse include the following:

·      Nausea and vomiting

·      Abdominal pain

·      Confusion

·      Dizziness

·      Double or blurred vision

·      Slurred speech

·      Rapid heart beat

·      Drowsiness

·      Disorientation

·      Impaired physical coordination

At Commercial Medical Escorts we encourage you to educate yourself about the abuse and ways you can prevent it from happening to a love one. As a parent you will want to know potential warning signs of abuse:

       Empty cough medicine boxes or bottles in the trash a teen’s room, backpack or school locker

       Teens purchasing or using cough medicine when not ill

       Missing boxes or bottles from home medicine supply

       Hearing a teen use certain slang terms for DXM abuse, such as skittles, skittling, tussin, robo-tripping, robo, CCC, triple Cs,  and Dexing/DXM

 

 If you suspect or recognize any of these instances occurring then it is likely that you child could be abusing and at that point you should be proactive. Talking to your teen, talking to other parents, and monitoring your child’s behaviors are critical to determining the best way to approach the situation. Being proactive, being alert, and addressing the situation in the early stages will be more effective than ignoring or hoping it will go away on its own. Take action!

Prevention Tips for Breast Cancer

by Lux Joseph 5. October 2014

Every 2 minutes, there is a new breast cancer diagnosis.

Every 14 minutes, a life is lost to the disease.

Over 40,000 people will die this year; about 400 of them will be men.

85% of all diagnoses have no family history.

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between ages 40 and 55.

Cancer takes a toll on communities across the United States. It’s a complex disease that affects people in each city, town, and neighborhood differently. Prevention is the best way to fight cancer. This means getting people to do things that will protect their health—like get screened, quit smoking, and exercise more. It also means bringing together local leaders to support local cancer prevention efforts.

This October, Commercial Medical Escorts (CME) is proud to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.

 

·       If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.

·       If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years.

 

You may also choose to get them more often.

Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours has had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.

CME will be sharing with you tools and tips to protect your health this October. It is important to be proactive when it comes to your well being and staying healthy. This week CME is going to focus on tips to help you prevent breast cancer. While most marketing and publicity focuses around women getting breast cancer, keep in mind it can also occur in men.

1. Schedule your well-woman visit with a doctor or nurse every year. The well-woman visit is an important way to help you stay healthy. Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:

·       Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems

·       Screenings, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat

·       Education and counseling to help you make informed health decisions

2. Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight has many negative consequences for health, and the risk of breast cancer is one of them. The effect of weight is dramatic. Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer after menopause, the time of life when breast cancer most often occurs. Strive to keep your body mass index (BMI) under 25. Breast cancer is often detected at a later stage in obese women, and obese women are more likely to die from breast cancer.

3. Eat healthy to avoid tipping the scale. Embrace a diet high in vegetables and fruit and low in sugared drinks, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods. Eat lean protein such as fish or chicken breast and eat red meat in moderation, if at all. Eat whole grains. Choose vegetable oils over animal fats.

4. Keep physically active. Research suggests that increased physical activity, even when begun later in life, reduces overall breast-cancer risk by about 10 percent to 30 percent. All it takes is moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk five days a week to get this protective effect.

5. Drink little or no alcohol. Alcohol use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Women should limit intake to no more than one drink per day, regardless of the type of alcohol.

6. Don’t smoke. Research suggests that long-term smoking is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in some women.

7. If you bear children, breast-feed your babies for as long as possible. Women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.

8. Avoid hormone replacement therapy. Menopausal hormone therapy increases risk for breast cancer. If you must take hormones to manage menopausal symptoms, avoid those that contain progesterone and limit their use to less than three years. “Bioidentical hormones” and hormonal creams and gels are no safer than prescription hormones and should also be avoided.

9. Consume a diet low in animal-based products. Animal-based products are extremely inflammatory and expose the body to a high dose of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory mediator. Fill half your plate with veggies or even consider a vegan-based diet. 

10. Dedicate at least 8 hours to sleep. A study published in August 2012 showed an association between less sleep and development of aggressive forms of breast cancers in women. If you suffer from chronic sleep issues, work with your physician to find the underlying cause and correct it. Using drugs isn't the answer!
Should you have any additional questions, please consult your physician. Some tips and resources are from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) and we encourage you to visit their website. Throughout the month we will share additional tips and resources to keep you staying health.

 

 

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


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