Samantha Laws

Samantha Laws

Lecturer in Paramedic Science

Academic and research departments

School of Health Sciences.


Simon Corrall, Samantha Laws, Alan Rice (2023)Low-voltage electrical injuries and the electrocardiogram: is a ‘normal’ electrocardiogram sufficient for safe discharge from care? A systematic review, In: British paramedic journal8(3)pp. 27-36 The College of Paramedics

Abstract Introduction: The current Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee guidelines in the United Kingdom provide clear national guidance for low-voltage electrical injury patients. While patients can be considered safe to discharge with an apparently ‘normal’ initial electrocardiogram (ECG), some evidence questions the safety profile of these patients with a risk of a ‘delayed arrhythmia’. This review aims to examine this as well as identifying the frequency and common arrhythmias that require patients to be conveyed to hospital for further monitoring post electrical injury. It will also aim to improve the understanding of potentially clinically significant arrhythmias that may require clinical intervention or even admission within an in-hospital environment. Methods: A systematic review using three electronic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, AMED) was conducted in January 2022. A preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) approach was used to identify relevant studies with a suitable quality to support a critical review of the topic. A modified Critical Appraisal Skills Programme quality assessment checklist was used across suitable studies and a descriptive statistics approach was adopted to present the findings. Results: Seven studies, largely retrospective reviews, met the inclusion criteria. The findings showed 26% of patients had an arrhythmia on initial presentation (n = 364/1234) with incidences of sinus tachycardia, sinus bradycardia and premature ventricular contractions. However, making definitive statements is challenging due to the lack of access to individual patients’ past ECGs. Within these arrhythmias’ ST segment changes, atrial fibrillation and long QT syndrome could be considered potentially significant, however associated prognosis with these and electrical injuries is unknown. Only six (0.5%) patients required treatment by drug therapy, and a further three died from associated complications. Most patients with a normal ECG were discharged immediately with only a limited follow-up. No presentation of a ‘delayed arrhythmia’ was identified throughout the studies. Conclusion: The data for low-voltage electrical injuries are limited, but the potential arrhythmias for this patient group seldom require intervention. The entity of the ‘delayed arrhythmia’ may not be a reason to admit or monitor patients for prolonged periods. Further studies should consider the safety profile of discharging a patient with a normal ECG.

Introduction: Changes in the paramedic profession have seen an increased range of medicines available within UK ambulances services. However, poor practice in medicines management has been identified by the Care Quality Commission. Literature in this area is sparse. This study aimed to determine the perceived knowledge, attitudes and practices of paramedics regarding pharmacology and the legal and regulatory issues of medicines management and administration.Methods: The study utilised a cross-sectional survey design, administering an anonymous online survey to all (approximately 1000) paramedics within one UK NHS ambulance trust. The survey focused on paramedic knowledge on pharmacology, legal supply and administration; self-assessment of knowledge and confidence related to medicine management and administration; and personal characteristics. The primary outcome was percentage of (pre-determined) correct answers.Results: 251 responses were received. The mean percentage of correct answers was 79.0% (SD 10.0), with variation by question observed, from 34.7 to 97.2% correct responses. A higher correct knowledge was associated with: higher self-rated confidence, lower self-reported knowledge, being less likely to report errors and higher education-based initial route into the paramedic profession.Conclusion: This single-site UK-based survey highlighted variation in medicines knowledge among self-selecting paramedic respondents. The results indicate a need for medicines-specific further education for all paramedics, particularly those who have not experienced longer formal education entry routes, integrating a focus on confidence and self-perceived knowledge, and enhancing and embedding integrated improvement strategies. Further research is required with larger, multi-site samples, and to evaluate the impact of education packages developed.

Lydia Emerson, Samantha Laws (2019)Effect of placental transfusion on neonatal resuscitation attempts, In: Journal of paramedic practice : the clinical monthly for emergency care professionals11(11)pp. 480-487

Objective: Overall, neonatal mortality has been shown to be reduced by: placental transfusion (the transfer of blood from the placenta to the neonatal circulation after birth); delayed cord clamping (DCM) (waiting for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before clamping and cutting the cord); and umbilical cord milking (UCM) (clamping and cutting the cord immediately before milking the cord towards the neonate to expel remaining volume). This systematic review aimed to determine whether placental transfusion negatively impacts resuscitation by delaying it or has any effect on infant mortality, and to identify any barriers to performing it. Methods: CINAHL, MEDLINE, AMED and the British Nursing Index were searched using key terms to identify relevant English language publications between 2017 and 2019. Results: Five papers were selected for critical analysis—three randomised control trials and two cohort studies. Conclusion: Placental transfusion was not found to have a negative impact on neonatal resuscitation but, equally, had no significant effect on Apgar at 5 minutes; however, Apgar is a crude measure of infant mortality. The question remains around the proven multifaceted benefit of placental transfusion in the prehospital environment, which requires further research. There is evidence to suggest prehospital clinicians should be looking to change practice. Further research, considerations and consultations are required to ascertain the best way to implement the procedure with a balanced and proportionate approach considering neonatal thermoregulation and maternal management. The main reported barrier to placental transfusion was a lack of appropriate equipment.

Andrew Elphinstone, Samantha Laws (2020)Does ‘heads-up’ cardiopulmonary resuscitation improve outcomes for patients in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest? A systematic review, In: British paramedic journal4(4)pp. 16-24 The College of Paramedics

Introduction: Survival rates for patients in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have remained around 10% in the United Kingdom for the past seven years. If outcomes are to be improved, research into new methods of advanced life support is required. One such method may be ‘heads-up’ cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Methods: A systematic review of literature exploring heads-up cardiopulmonary resuscitation was conducted in an attempt to identify its effects on survival to discharge and neurological outcome. Results: A comprehensive search of CINAHL, MEDLINE and Google Scholar was undertaken. Six papers were classed as sufficiently relevant for inclusion. Included studies were generally of low quality and none studied the effect of heads-up cardiopulmonary resuscitation on out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients. Animal studies identified a significant reduction in intracranial pressure and increase in cerebral and coronary perfusion pressure for use of augmented heads-up cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the porcine model of cardiac arrest. Conclusion: Further research is required to analyse the effects and potential benefits of augmented heads-up cardiopulmonary resuscitation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Samantha Laws (2019)Fascia iliaca compartment block versus IV morphine for femoral fracture pain, In: Journal of Paramedic Practice11(4)pp. 156-164

Background: Femoral trauma in the UK is increasing. The fascia iliaca compartment block (FICB) could be a more effective, safer way to ease pain and distress from femoral trauma in the prehospital environment than the current practice of intravenous morphine. Aim: To conduct a systematic review to accumulate evidence concerning prehospital FICB for patients with femoral fracture. Methodology: A systematic review was conducted using the CINAHL, Medline, AMED, PubMed and Embase databases. In addition, a hand search of the Journal of Paramedic Practice and the Australasian Journal of Paramedicine was performed. The search was carried out from 28 March–24 April 2018. Results: Twenty-eight papers were sourced by the methodology, of which four met the inclusion criteria and were subsequently analysed. Conclusion: This review shows that prehospital FICB can be efficacious in a number of prehospital environments and is feasible for a variety of patients with a range of femoral fractures. Additionally, FICB has limited reported adverse side effects in the prehospital environment and would appear to be safe. However, evidence comparing the efficacy of a prehospital FICB to intravenous morphine use for pain management in femoral fractures is limited. This review indicates that more research in this area would be beneficial.