I work at my community’s volunteer ambulance service as an EMT, so this healthcare issue personally affects me on the care provider side. I will be writing about the treatment administered for possible limb fractures, with the exclusion of femur fractures.
Just last week, I had a patient with a possible wrist fracture. The main treatment for a limb fractures is simply to splint and immobilize the limb in question. For those of you unaware of how shamefully outdated and mind-bogglingly simple this treatment consists of, let me enlighten you. The “splint” is just a light piece of wood with some padding, wrapped and sealed in a thick plastic layer. The splinting process consists of immobilizing the limb by wrapping it to the splint with a roll of gauze.
This system is often met with with reluctance and disapproval, as it requires some movement to the injured limb. Though I am slightly uncoordinated, even the most graceful and attentive caregiver cannot properly splint a limb without causing unnecessary movement. This movement not only causes pain, but can also worsen the injury.
I believe that this system can be improved on, because right now, it does not live up to expectations. An improvement would allow me to become a more effective EMT, and would minimize the pain and any further injury to the patient. Players in the healthcare system could very easily improve this situation by making an easy-to-use splinting device that minimizes movement during its application.
My concept is a mat consisting of long pieces of plastic aligned together in a parallel fashion. There would be joints connecting the pieces of plastic, allowing the mat to wrap around the injured limb. Perhaps there could even be a inflation padding system at the center of the wrapped mat, providing added comfort. I believe that this system could be an effective solution to the current splinting process.