Ambulance Crew Bemused As A ‘Nose Bleed’ Gets Graded The Same As A Cardiac Arrest

Information has been passed to Emergency Services News which suggests that a patient suffering from a minor ‘nose bleed’ could, in some cases, be treated the same as a patient who is in cardiac arrest.

The call (below) seems to suggest that the patient in this case only experienced a bleed each time they put their finger up their nose.

A source said:

‘And people wonder why the ambulance services in the UK are under so much pressure …This call was the same category as a cardiac arrest’

The situation appears to have come about after a change was made nationally to the manner in which calls to the ambulance service are graded.

Last year the way calls were categorised were changed nationally – and calls which were determined as “serious haemorrhage” are given as ‘CAT 1’ now – which seems to include nose picking.

‘CAT 1’ calls are graded as being the most urgent calls which require immediate life-saving assistance by highly trained medics.

Whilst this is the first time we have heard of a nose bleed being graded the same as a cardiac arrest, it does suggest a particularly worrying development for the ambulance service.

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  • Shiralee Lewin

    Since protocols have changed on the system we use to triage- the likelihood of a nosebleed C1 is indeed a probability! Unfortunately there are questions which when answered a specific way will then make it a cat 1. Those patients tend to be on blood thinners or have a blood disorder. So it’s not as black and white as you may think. We as EMDs are obliged to follow protocols and also not to question the integrity of the caller. So as frustrating as you feel- sometimes it will be the correct response. An elderly patient who has been bleeding non stop from the nose for days and is on thinners deserves this. We are not able to decide if this was caused by skin deterioration or picking!

  • You are obviously using Binary Algorithms to triage, that always assume the worst without any critical thinking.

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