Time for better feedback?


A study published in Air Medical Journal sought to establish if in patients who die at scene as a result of traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA), their cause of death could be determined through coroners’ reports, and to ascertain the quality of the feedback provided to prehospital teams. It was a retrospective study of all patients presenting in TCA who were attended by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance between January 2015, and June 2016.

In total, 159 patients were attended to during the study period. Postmortem reports could not be obtained for 37 patients, mainly because of unestablished identities at the scene. Forty of the 122 reports obtained were full postmortem reports, three were inquest reports, and for 79 patients only their (presumed) cause of death was provided. A specific cause of death was provided for 68 patients, whereas in the remaining 54 patients the cause of death was given as ‘multiple injuries’. In 32 per cent of the patients with a full postmortem report, injuries were identified during the postmortem examination that had not been noted on scene.

The study found that feedback from coroners to prehospital teams after patients die as a result of TCA is important but currently suboptimal.


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