United States paramedics have been found to have a much higher risk of death from COVID-19 than other front-line emergency medics.
They are dying at a rate three times higher than nurses, and about five times higher than doctors involved in emergency medicine.
A team of Australian researchers at CQUniversity compared the mortality rates of US emergency workers including paramedics, police, firefighters, nurses and physicians.
They analysed a range of available data sources to understand how to make safety improvements to current systems.
Research team member Adjunct Professor Brian Maguire said the findings illustrated the need for increased safety in the sector.
Because of shortages, paramedics had been treating patients in their homes and at trauma sites with limited personal protective equipment.
“They have to lift, move and carry their patients, increasing the possibility of mask leaks from movement and increasing respiratory demand from the effort,” Professor Maguire said.
The team found that there were large inconsistencies in COVID-19 reporting in the USA and that the future of this critical, life-saving profession is at risk because growing numbers of paramedics are quitting their jobs.
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