Trauma: just another statistic?

This article explores the clinical assessment, diagnosis and current management of tension pneumothoraces in the prehospital arena by UK ambulance service paramedics. Using a case study from clinical practice, the signs and symptoms, aetiology and clinical manifestations of tension pneumothoraces are examined, with the specific aim of achieving an accurate diagnosis and effective pleural decompression. This article explores the effectiveness of needle thoracocentesis: the sole method of pleural decompression currently available to UK paramedics. It aims to compare the effectiveness of this procedure with other, and considered more reliable, methods of pleural decompression. Inherent risks and associated complications are examined and conclusions are drawn, including the proposal that critical care helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) paramedics who have completed additional educational programmes, operating under strict clinical governance systems, and who are frequently exposed to seriously injured patients, be afforded the autonomy to practice incision thoracostomies in traumatic cardiac arrest patients in the absence of their medical colleagues.

Subscribe to get full access to the Journal of Paramedic Practice

Thank you for vising the Journal of Paramedic Practice and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the only journal dedicated to those working in emergency care, you can start your subscription today for just £48.

CPD Focus

Reading the Journal of Paramedic Practice counts towards your professional development

Develop your career

We provide professional information dedicated to paramedics covering training, education and jobs

Stay informed

Get the latest clinical information to ensure you are aware of the latest think and best practice in paramedicne

Subscribe now

Already registered? - Sign in here

Keep up to date with Journal of Paramedic Practice!

Sign up to Journal of Paramedic Practice’s regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.