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Health Aff (Millwood). 2006 Mar-Apr;25(2):501-9.

Paramedic intubation errors: isolated events or symptoms of larger problems?

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.


Paramedics provide life-saving emergency medical care to patients in the out-of-hospital setting, but only selected emergency interventions have proved to be safe or effective. Endotracheal intubation (the insertion of an emergency breathing tube into the trachea) is an important and high-profile procedure performed by paramedics. In our study population, we found that errors occurred in 22 percent of intubation attempts, with a frequency of up to 40 percent in selected ambulance systems. These findings indicate frequent errors associated with this life-saving technique. These events might be emblematic of larger issues in the structure and delivery of out-of-hospital emergency care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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