Injuries and Fatalities among Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics in the U.S.

Brian Maguire, Sean Smith

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74 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

During the study period there were 59 fatalities that occurred to EMTs and paramedics in both private industry and in the public sector; of those, 51 (86%) were transportation related and five (8%) were assaults; thirty three (56%) were classified as 'multiple traumatic injuries'.ConclusionsData from the DOL shows that EMTs and paramedics have a rate of injury that is about three times higher than the national average for all occupations; this mirrors findings from similar studies. The vast majority of fatalities are secondary to transportation related incidents; assaults are also identified as a significant cause of fatality. The findings also indicate that females in this occupational group may have a disproportionately larger number of injuries. Support is recommended for further research related to causal factors and for the development, evaluation and promulgation of evidence-based interventions to mitigate this problem.Introduction Emergency medical services personnel treat 22 million patients a year, yet little is known of their risk of injury and fatality. ProblemThe injury and fatality rates for these workers are higher than the national average for all occupations.MethodsWe examined 21,749 cases the Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics identified as injuries or fatalities involving EMTs and paramedics from 2003 to 2007. We describe characteristics, and calculate rates and relative risks compared to the national average.ResultsOf the 21,749 cases, 21,690 were non-fatal injuries or illnesses resulting in lost work days among EMTs and paramedics in the private sector. Three thousand, seven hundred and ten cases (17%) resulted in 31 or more days of lost work time.Over 14,000 cases (67%) were sprains or strains; the back was injured in 9,290 cases (43%); the patient was listed as the source of injury in 7,960 cases (37%). The most common events were overexertion (56%), falls (10%), and transportation (9%). On average, there were over 100 assault cases per year.Forty five per cent of the cases occurred to females yet females accounted for only 27% of employment in this occupation during 2007.In 2007, EMTs and paramedics suffered 349.9 injuries with days away from work per 10,000 full time workers, compared to an average of 122.2 for all private industry occupations (Relative risk = 2.9; 95% CI: 2.7 ' 3.0).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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