Since the day we are born, doctors continue to be our heroes throughout bouts of colds and fevers. On occasion, they will stand out, birthing babies (or sometimes gorillas) in the middle of their own deliveries. Santa Rosa doctor Scott Witt defied the odds when he hopped on a motorcycle to rescue eight preemies from a fire.
“I got a call at 2 a.m. basically saying that there was some fire encroaching on the hospital so so we might have to evacuate,” said Dr. Witt.
“In California, you can split lanes so I just kind of went down the middle of lanes and got past everybody,”
Four miles from the center and an additional six from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Witt braved a number of treacherous highways. Witt and his family lost their home, but his wife could not have been prouder of his actions.
“If my baby was in the hospital… I mean I’m a little biased but I would totally want them to be in some hands like Scott’s,” said Megan Witt.
Witt also trailed ambulances for three hours on several trips justifying not only his courage, but that a BMW is a pretty sturdy bike.
On occasion, people suffering from crippling medical conditions experience unexpected miracles. Surgeons in Rochester saved both teacher Dan Fabbio and his music function from a high-risk tumor. Gene therapy is finally giving butterfly children a chance to recover. However, things don’t always turn out as planned. Queensland paramedics did everything they could for palliative patient Graeme Cooper, but to no avail. They chose to fulfill her dying wish, and took her to the beach one last time.
“Above and beyond, the crew took a small diversion to the awesome beach at Hervey Bay to give the patient this opportunity – tears were shed and the patient felt very happy.” [said officer-in-charge Helen Donaldson.]
Shared on social media, the photo immediately went viral, shared more than 10,000 times. The paramedics team had taken Cooper to see the ocean two weeks prior, when she was en route home to be with her husband. Tragically, her last visit to the bay was a pit stop back to the hospital. Still, she was optimistic.
“I said to the patient: ‘What are you thinking?’” [paramedic Danielle Kellan] recalled. “And she said: ‘I’m at peace, everything is right’.”
I always commend paramedics for their skill — but this was all simply compassion.
As it becomes less of a stigma, mental health is finally receiving the attention it deserves. People are embracing their conditions thanks to online tools like DIY therapy and help hotlines. Notwithstanding, feeling vulnerable and ashamed remains a looming issue — one that Sweden is tackling firsthand. Countering rising suicide rates, Stockholm has introduced the world’s first mental health ambulance.
Inside the ambulance is a warm, inviting area equipped with comfortable seats instead of medical equipment, two mental health nurses and one paramedic.
The Psychiatric Emergency Response Team attends to roughly 130 calls monthly, countering 15,000 attempts annually. So far, the ambulance’s success rate has risen steadily.
“I can’t see any reason as to why the project shouldn’t continue,” [Mental Health Emergency head Fredrik] Bengtsson said. “It has been considered a huge success by police, nurses, healthcare officials, as well as by the patients.”
It sounds as though Sweden is the first to get things right. If mental illness is as urgent as physical trauma, why not treat it as such?
In times of emergency, we rely solely on human action, men or women driving ambulances through winding traffic in the hopes of tending to their patients before it’s too late. Constantly developing technology has allowed such emergency procedures to improve, and now drones are being used to transport defibrillators to people stricken by cardiac arrest.
Researchers tested the idea and found drones arrived at the scene of 18 cardiac arrests within about 5 minutes of launch. That was almost 17 minutes faster on average than ambulances – a big deal for a condition where minutes mean life or death.
The versatile drone, used primarily in capturing live videos, surveying dangerous areas, and monitoring wildlife, is now expanding its areas of expertise.
Drones are increasingly being tested or used in a variety of settings, including to deliver retail goods to consumers in remote areas, search for lost hikers and help police monitor traffic or crowds. Using them to speed medical care seemed like a logical next step.
The researchers used a small heart defibrillator weighing less than two pounds, featuring an electronic voice that gives instructions on how to use the device.
Drones are among a myriad of new machines with a great potential for saving lives. Preliminary testing of drone defibrillators is currently taking place in the Northwestern University in Chicago.