Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swine flu hotline, house calls under consideration

From the NY Post:

Swine flu SWAT teams would treat sick 911 callers in their homes -- dialing up doctors for diagnoses and prescriptions -- under a radical new plan being mulled by the city to prevent jammed emergency rooms, The Post has learned.

Officials are contemplating a new protocol that would transfer callers who report influenza-like symptoms to a special hot line manned by light-duty paramedics and a doctor, said a source with knowledge of the talks.

The medics would dispatch either a team of EMTs to evaluate patients in person, or possibly a specialized crew in an ambulette to avoid taking a regular ambulance out of service.

The potential new protocols grew out of city brainstorming sessions on how to handle people with flu symptoms who may not be sick enough to warrant hospitalization, the source said.

The EMTs would assess callers for underlying conditions, respiratory problems or pregnancy -- all high-risk factors for swine flu -- and share their findings over the phone with the medics and doctors.

Based on the information, a doctor would decide if the patient needs to be transported to the nearest emergency room or could be given a prescription for Tamiflu and left to recuperate at home, the source said.

Current FDNY protocols require EMS workers to bring sick 911 callers to hospitals, regardless of the severity of symptoms.


Anonymous said...

I thought 911 was for medical emergencies such as trauma, heart attacks, uncontrollable pain, vomiting blood, etc...

Anonymous said...

Bring back and expand the Health Clinics that they had years ago. Open them up in crowded neighborhoods (all of Queens). This will free up space in the Emergency Rooms. As for house calls, 911 is an emergency number. Recruit doctors and nurses (visiting nurse service) to make house calls if necessary and make that service available through the 311 number. If you use 911, it will be a mess. That number also is for fires and severe emergencies.

Anonymous said...

yea - so are emergency rooms - but when you have a certain populace that knows that they cannot be turned away for any reason, they become defacto generalist, internist, or ob-gyn medical offices. so why not just incorporate 911 into the system?

when you take that into consdieration and add all the media hype about h1n1, making people believe that it's another bubonic plague, it's easy to control the situation by dispatching medics to the scene, rather than having these poor souls come into the Er and infecting people who were just inc ar accidents, etc.

Anonymous said...

As recently as 30 years ago, doctors routinely made house calls and still had time for office hours. So at least if you had 103 fever and cough you were not forced to sit in an uncomfortable room with strangers until someone got around to seeing you. Why is bringing house calls back a "radical" idea? Why are there not places where you can go 24/7 that are not for life/death situations but can't wait until your doctor can see you (because it's likely your doctor doesn't have time for sick people anyway)?

They keep telling us that the flu comes on suddenly so what IS one to do if you are the unlucky one to have it start at midnight on a Saturday?

Well I guess you won't be going to an ER in Queens because we can't seem to keep those open even for the heart attack and stroke victims.