Thanks to more than $3.7 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, an effort is underway in Arizona that could change the way the medical care providers are able to effectively treat brain injuries in the early stages. Known as the Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care (EPIC) project, this program is instructing early responders such as firefighters and emergency medical technicians, among others, how to handle accident victims who may have suffered TBI in a manner that could actually limit the damage that is done to the brain. Ultimately, the goal of EPIC is to completely eliminate unnecessary post-injury brain damage and increase the chance of recovery for patients.
According to Arizona Central, EPIC’s co-director Dr. Ben Bobrow said that the philosophy behind this project is driven by the fact that accident victims had previously received improper treatment in the wake of their initial brain injuries, because medical technicians may have been given the wrong training. That occurred, however, because the medical community’s knowledge of brain injuries was much more limited 10 years ago than it is today. Because of advancements that have been made in treating TBI, experts now know that breathing properly is essential to any accident victim’s chances of a full recovery.
Bobrow also points out that here is no set standard for treating victims and patients, and that’s ideally what EPIC wants to change over the next 3 years of the project’s data collection process. Currently, thanks to the NIH grants and the efforts of EPIC, as many as 200 fire departments are being trained in new procedures, including the use of specialized breathing devices that can properly ventilate people with injuries.
The AZ Central report suggests that the medical professionals learning and implementing this new process see it as a positive step for TBI treatment.
“The ultimate goal is increasing the patient outcome with traumatic brain injuries, so anything we can do to better that outcome and increase the chance of survivability and better way of life for those patients that receive traumatic brain injuries,” said. “Everybody is on board with that.”
The current grant began in 2011 and is scheduled to run through 2015. The people behind EPIC hope that the program can improve not only first responder treatment but also that of Arizona’s biggest hospitals.