Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 19 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:468

Half of all deaths in road crashes occur within one hour of the incidents, so it's clear that getting people out of wrecks quickly is critical. A Norwegian team has developed a “rapid extraction technique” based on reversing the forces of the original crash by anchoring the rear of the vehicle, and pulling the steering wheel and the front window pillars forward with chains. The time taken to get injured people out was significantly less than using standard techniques, and avoiding uncontrolled movements in the wreck was no more difficult (Injury 2004;35: 739-45).

A pregnant woman who had a preterm stillbirth was found to have had a severe Chlamydophila abortus infection, a disease carried by goats and sheep. It turned out that her husband was a goatherd, and he'd passed the infection to his wife. It mimics severe flu, and pregnant women living in rural areas should be made aware of this zoonotic risk (European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 2004;23: 487-90).

Even though health professionals bang on about it, the message that patients with asthma should take their prescribed inhaled steroids throughout the year doesn't seem to get hammered home. A retrospective analysis in the Netherlands reports that 50% of patients used inhaled steroids for less than 200 days, and only 18% persisted for a year. Persistence rates went up …

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