MESA, Ariz. – It is a situation no one wants to imagine themselves or a loved one in, but traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a major cause of death in the United States. Now, a University of Arizona and Arizona Department of Health Services study could make the difference between life and death for TBI patients.
The EPIC initiative, or Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care, launched in 2012. The program has trained more than 11,000 first responders statewide. It focuses on attacking the “Three H-Bombs” in the first 20 minutes of care on a TBI patient- hyperventilation, hypoxia and hypotension.
The results, announced Wednesday at a press conference in Mesa, are staggering.
“The first 20 minutes of care done right doubled survival in the state of Arizona,” explained EPIC Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Dan Spaite. “The beauty of EPIC is its simplicity… [it] actually just taught [the first responders] how to optimize the procedures they already knew how to do.”
The study results also showed a triple rate of survival in intubated patients, who needed help breathing.
Survival is something Glendale firefighter paramedic, Alex Matthews, knows all too well.
“About a week after going through the training, my family was involved in a bad crash,” she said. “I looked behind me and it was all metal. And my little boy, who was 8 months old at the time, was sitting behind me.”
Her son is now a happy and healthy first-grader, thanks in part to his own mother’s critical training.
“We realize how important our job is. How important it is to stay sharp on our skills and continue to train,” she said. “And also, I get to go home to my son every day. So I want to give people the best chance to do that, and have a healthy and good life.”
More than 130 Arizona fire departments and EMS agencies participated in the EPIC program’s training. The project was funded through a multi-million dollar grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
To see the full study, click here.