First aid might have saved Dominic
THE EDITOR, Sir: AM a Level Four paramedic/emergency medical services (EMS) instructor employed to the University of the West Indies. My job is to train EMS professionals at the basic to advanced levels. I have been teaching and working in the field of EMS for more than 14 years.
First, there are multiple levels of EMS practitioners. The skill provided at each level is way above or beyond first aid.
The pre-hospital management given to Dominic James, the schoolboy who collapsed on a football field recently, should have been first aid. I cannot say if this would be enough to save the young man’s life, but it does leave
IWHAT IF you were asked to name only three of your favourite reggae books? How would you select just three from 50 years of writing about reggae? That’s exactly the challenge Toronto literary critic Donna Bailey Nurse asked me to consider. It forced me to think about the criteria I would use to arrive at my choices for a shortlist.
First, I decided to disregard all those large, exquisitely designed coffee-table books. If you are at all familiar with reggae books, you know the ones. They roughly fall into two categories: The Bob Marley biography told through attractive images surrounded with unsubstantial text; and books, using the same approach, that feature an assortment of reggae musicians, singers and producers. I’m not against the glossy photographs in those books, but typically the writing in many of them doesn’t possess the craft or analytical depth to position them as more than just average.
While I remain a huge fan of Bob Marley, I had to exclude all those biographies of him that recycle the same information without offering any new insights or perspectives. I also steered clear of books with a one-track vinyl-collector’s perspective. They often trade in disembodied anecdotes divorced from any social or historical context. They fit Amiri Baraka’s description, in his book, Blues People, of certain jazz writers as ‘gee whiz hobbyists’.
After all that whittling down, what’s left? Well, some of the most alluring and powerful reggae writing can be found in poetry and fiction. Lorna Goodison, Kamau Braithwaite, Anthony McNeill, Bongo Jerry,
Mervyn Morris, Kwame Dawes, Colin Channer, Christian Campbell, Nalo Hopkinson, Marlon James, Kei Miller and Ishion Hutchinson are just some of the gifted Caribbean poets and novelists whose work has engaged the music. Whether they explicitly discuss reggae or not, their writings are often steeped in its rhythms, themes, and overall aesthetics. Despite the literary quality of those works, I decided to focus on non-fiction.
When no one outside the Caribbean thought to write about the music, Gordon Rohlehr, Garth White, Verena unanswered questions.
I am very certain that if he fell and was seizing and gasping, oxygen could not stop that. He would require medication to stop his seizure, then aggressive airway and cardiac management. Finally, the cardiac monitor, when placed in defibrillation mode, does not start back the heart. It kills the weak impulses caused by ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia, which are the only two rhythms that can be defribrillated.
This, with the use of ACLS drugs, is what allows the primary electrical stimulus of the heart to return. Dominic might have been in a rhythm for which no shock was required.
I do not believe that ambulances with trained medical personnel can be at every Manning Cup event, because Jamaica’s EMS system is nowhere near the First World level. This is because of poor regulations, poor public awareness, poor standard of care and scope of practice.
CHAIN LINK TO SURVIVAL
Now if there is no first aider, the EMT does what the first aider should have done. If there is no EMT care, the paramedic does what the EMT should have done. If there is no paramedic care provided, the nurses and doctors must do what the paramedic should have done. This is the chain link to survival, and if there is a break in that chain, the patient’s chances of survival are greatly diminished.
My suggestion would be to have the coaches and teachers trained and equipped with jump bags until our Jamaican EMS system, by some miracle, reaches where it needs to be. I also recommend that you review the curriculum for training EMS practitioners at all levels mentioned above to get a better understanding of the level of training, skills, medication and knowledge required for these professionals to be certified or licensed.
There is a saying that emergency personnel are like a spare tyre; they do not become important until they are needed. Sadly, in Jamaica, they are not seen as important at any time. Dominic deserved a First World response, whether he would have survived or not. RYAN O. RUFUS firstname.lastname@example.org