HEALTH WATCH -- The level of a paramedics' training may mean difference between life and death. If a loved one is having trouble breathing, you immediately call an ambulance. But the chances of survival may depend on the type of EMT who responds. All certified emergency medical technicians -- or EMTs -- in the United States are required to have very basic medical skills. But did you know the majority of them are not qualified to do things like administer intravenous drugs or insert a breathing tube? A new study from Canada finds that having a paramedic who is trained in advanced medical support could mean the difference between life and death. For the study paramedics in 15 cities were trained in advanced life support. Researchers looked at how patients transported to the hospital fared before and after paramedic training. They found that patients with breathing problems who were treated by highly trained EMTs had a 30 percent greater chance of survival. In addition patients who received advanced support were 10 percent more likely to have the best possible score on brain function. At this time in the United States, only about one in five EMTs is certified to perform advanced life support, but the number of highly trained paramedics has increased annually over the past five years.
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