Australasian Emergency Care
School of Arts and Humanities / School of Science / School of Medical and Health Sciences
West Australian Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (Grant ID G1005220)
Objective: To investigate the Australian general public's ability to identify common medical emergencies as requiring an emergency response. Methods: An online survey asked participants to identify likely medical treatment pathways they would take for 17 hypothetical medical scenarios (eight emergency and nine non-emergency). The number and type of emergency scenarios participants correctly suggested warranted an emergency medical response was examined. Participants included Australian residents (aged > 18 years; n = 5264) who had never worked as an Australian registered medical doctor, nurse or paramedic. Results: Most emergencies were predominately correctly classified as requiring emergency responses (e.g. Severe chest pain, 95 % correct). However, non-emergency medical responses were often chosen for some emergency scenarios, such as a child suffering from a scalp haematoma (67 %), potential meningococcal disease (57 %), a box jellyfish sting (40 %), a paracetamol overdose (37 %), and mild chest pain (26 %). Participants identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander suggested a non-emergency response to emergency scenarios 29 % more often compared with non-indigenous participants. Conclusions: Educational interventions targeting specific medical symptoms may work to alleviate delayed emergency medical intervention. This research highlights a particular need for improving symptom identification and healthcare system confidence amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
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Available for download on Sunday, December 31, 2023