Media Contact:

Alicia Lurry, 404/616-6389 ~~
Assistant Director of Media Relations
for Emory University Physicians at Grady Memorial Hospital
[The Emory Grady Partnership]


December 7, 2000 


Emory University physicians are revolutionizing the way paramedics at Grady Hospital respond to emergency situations, thanks to "Accidents Aren't", a new pilot program designed to stop accidents before they happen.

Led by Dr. Knox Todd, associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine and vice chairman of its department of emergency medicine, and Jon King, director of Emergency Medical Service Education in the department of emergency medicine, the program is made possible with a $100,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, D.C.

Grady Hospital is the one of the first hospitals in the United States to introduce a program of this kind, King said.

The intent of the program, according to Todd and King, is to create an initiative to reduce preventable trauma. As part of the Accidents Aren't curriculum, Grady Hospital Emergency Medical Service (EMS) EMTs and paramedics were trained to spot potential injury-producing problems in the home such as slippery rugs, inoperative smoke detectors and dark hallways, and encourage the patient or family to correct them before they create a serious trauma situation. The curriculum also encourages paramedics to look for problems on residential streets and other public places. Paramedics are also taught to report such things as tree limbs obscuring stop signs and broken fences around parks that might allow a youngster to run into traffic.

Once the paramedic spots the problem, he immediately points it out.

"We're interested in promoting injury prevention opportunities," Todd said.

The pilot program started last fall when King, a paramedic for 21 years and an EMT instructor since 1982, began training paramedics at Grady Hospital. Since June, King has been reviewing ambulance trip reports to determine whether or not the specialized training has made a difference.

For King, the opportunity to make a difference is evident. Of the emergencies Grady paramedics respond to, King said 10 percent are serious, or life threatening, and 90 percent are not. That leaves much potential for the EMTs and paramedics to provide on-site training in injury prevention to patients, family and friends.

"Our focus is on the patient," King said. "We're also trying to prevent having to go out to that same home for more severe problems. We see our role as preventing the thing from happening in the first place."

So far, the duo has been successful in spreading the message about injury prevention. There have been an increased number of reported documentations by the EMS personnel. As a result of the Accidents Aren't initiative, Grady EMS was also involved in a successful bicycle helmet giveaway program made possible by a grant from Russell Athletic Corporation.


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