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Bystander Intervention Prior to The Arrival of Emergency Medical Services: Comparing Assistance across Types of Medical Emergencies
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prehosp Emerg Care
  • Description:
    Objective To determine the situational circumstances associated with bystander interventions to render aid during a medical emergency. Methods This study examined 16.2 million Emergency Medical Service (EMS) events contained within the National Emergency Medical Services Information System. The records of patients following a 9-1-1 call for emergency medical assistance were analyzed using logistic regression to determine what factors influenced bystander interventions. The dependent variable of the model was whether or not a bystander intervened. Results EMS providers recorded bystander assistance 11% of the time. The logistic regression model correctly predicted bystander intervention occurrence 71.4% of the time. Bystanders were more likely to intervene when the patient was male (aOR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.12–1.3) and if the patient was older (progressive aOR = 1.10, 1.46 age group 20–29 through age group 60–99). Bystanders were less likely to intervene in rural areas compared to urban areas (aOR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.58–0.59). The highest likelihood of bystander intervention occurred in a residential institution (aOR = 1.86, 95% CI = 1.85–1.86) and the lowest occurred on a street or a highway (aOR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.95–0.96). Using death as a reference group, bystanders were most likely to intervene when the patient had cardiac distress/chest pain (aOR = 11.38, 95% CI = 10.93–11.86), followed by allergic reaction (aOR = 7.63, 95% CI = 7.30–7.99), smoke inhalation (aOR = 6.65, 95% CI = 5.98–7.39), and respiration arrest/distress (aOR = 6.43, 95% CI = 6.17–6.70). A traumatic injury was the most commonly recorded known event, and it was also associated with a relatively high level of bystander intervention (aOR = 5.81, 95% CI = 5.58–6.05). The type of injury/illness that prompted the lowest likelihood of bystander assistance was Sexual Assault/Rape (aOR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.32–1.84) followed by behavioral/psychiatric disorder (aOR = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.57–1.71). Conclusion Bystander intervention varies greatly on situational factors and the type of medical emergency. A higher risk of patient death is likely to prompt bystander action. These novel study results can lead to more effective first aid training programs.
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