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General Scanning Discussion For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Location specific posts should be directed to the regional forums listed below.

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Old 01-31-2010, 10:05 PM
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Default Specialized scanner - advice please

I'm a long-time ham and a scanner buff but haven't come up with the answer to this one, so thanks in advance for your advice.

My son is a trauma surgeon at a hospital in the San Francisco area. He wants a hand held compact simple-to-operate receiver that will let him listen to Bay Area EMS and EMS-to-hospital frequencies so he can get advance warning of major trauma or disaster cases coming in to his ER. They are trunked and use the P25 digital system. Once he has it set up for two or three systems he would not want to be fiddling around with it; just turn it on and monitor. Suggestions, please.

Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:46 PM
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Id say the pro-96 w the rs duckie antenna?
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Old 02-01-2010, 1:15 AM
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I imagine the Pro 96 would work, but I suspect that for his application, size of the scanner is important, a 'full size' scanner would probably be 'in the way' as a physician.

The Uniden BC396XT would be good, sizewise.

If the trunk system involved has very good signals inside the hospital, he might even get one of the specialized 'stubby' 800 MHz antennas, for an even less obtrusive radio, but it's probably better to just stick with the stock antenna.
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Old 02-01-2010, 3:54 AM
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Do you mean to say that at a major metropolitan hospital, he is unaware of major trauma cases coming into his ER until the ambulance pulls up? Maybe its me, but this seems to indicate a severe breakdown in internal communications. To me, this would indicate deeper issues than can be solved with a scanner.

Maybe someone can clue me in as to how the chain of communications works between EMS teams in the field and the ER. As an integral member of the trauma team, if he is not being informed by ER personnel that a trauma case is on the way, then something is wrong.
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Old 02-01-2010, 6:05 AM
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In Camden County, NJ the EMS frequencies (analog) include one known as the 'hospital band'.

It utilizes DTMF tones to access the specific hospital. So, on the way in, the EMS unit can notify the hosp. what to expect.

I believe the 'band' is in use elsewhere in the state.

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Old 02-01-2010, 7:04 AM
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kz5x, good morning. I applaud your son for wanting to do more. I don't see this as a breakdown in hospital communications at all. For anybody with an inside veiw from the EMS side (25 years in EMS so far ), I know what goes on with "Trauma Alerts", where an EMS unit calls in with their report, however sometimes this can be as little as just a few minutes ETA. Hardly enough time to get word throughout the hospital to everybody that needs to know, to make a difference. However, if this doc was able to listen in to events unfolding, this would give them time to start thinking about what may be their next patient.
I don't have area knowledge to suggest which scanner would work best, but I do have the Pro-96, and like it, however, your sons area, might in the future change to a 700 system, and pro96 wont do that system well.
In the mean time, might I suggest he try online scanner streaming through his phone. I have a scanner I stream and listen to it through my phone a lot, especially when staged in safe zone during violent calls, until clearded by PD to come in. His area might be covered by this feed San Francisco Bay Area EMS Dispatch Live Scanner Audio Feed , but again, I'm not local, so you may have to do more research. I use bbscanner.com for my blackberry, many other apps like for iphone and such out there.
Might I also suggest he make contact with the EMS provider, and find out if they have some sort of text page outs on high level events that might come to him. In my area, our dispatch text pages out first alarms, and major events like roll overs and multiple victim events.
Hope this info can help some.

My feed can be heard through St. Charles Countywide EMS, Fire, and Law Live Scanner Audio Feed
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Old 02-01-2010, 8:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mo1dmat View Post
I don't see this as a breakdown in hospital communications at all.
I guess I still don't understand how this whole thing works. I am sure it varies from place to place so I am sure there is no single universal answer.

A couple of months ago I had a dizzy spell and my wife called 9-1-1 and the EMS folks came out. They did their thing and when it was determined that I needed to go to a hospital and which one I wanted to go to, they immediately contacted the hospital and started relaying the pertinent information about my case so they would be ready when I rolled in the door.

I guess my point is that the ER (as an entity) knew I was coming and why and what condition I was in. So if an individual doctor in the ER was not "in the loop", then how is it not an internal communications problem within the hospital and why is it the doctor's responsibility to resolve this issue on his own?

(By the way, the hospital I went to is in St. Charles County, so if mo1dmat can address this, I would really like to know.)
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Old 02-01-2010, 9:14 AM
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Code:
44912  MGH Consult
45040  MGH BLS Report 
44880  KSR Consult
45008  KSR BLS Report
44944  NCH Consult
45072  NCH BLS Report
Assuming Marin County as his location, these talkgroups are listed.
A BC 396T or 396XT, a Radio Shack Pro-106 or Pro-96, a GRE PSR-500 will all do the job very well by plugging in above talkgroups and the 14 control/alt frequencies of the 5 sites listed in database.

If Pro96 is selected the rt of Report will not fit in display so will need to be altered accordingly

Of the above scanners the BC's are the smallest though any of them will PAUSE (HOLD) on a talkgroup.
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Old 02-01-2010, 9:20 AM
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my bet is that there is not a channel or talkgroup that would be just for trauma or mass casualty calls. If not, he would have to listen to every call coming into the ER, medical and trauma alike. I would agree that the 396 would work.

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Old 02-01-2010, 9:31 AM
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The main difference here, is that the trauma surgeon, is detached physically from the ER. He would not be in immediate proximity to the ER, and typically would be more in the surgical area, or doing follow ups on ICU and floor patients as well as in a teaching mode if a high level facility, although I can not speak with full accuracy, because I am not truely hospital savy.

Locally, we use "Trauma Alerts", where we contact an ER with brief situation reports, sometimes we let dispatch do it. As well as the MCI events ( I worked a 98 car wreck at 70 and O'fallon a few years ago ( http://paramedic-ems.com/multi.jpg ).
I guess the real answer for the reason for the scanner is it would be for this doc to get as much of a warning as possible, to incoming situations. I've brought in patients so serious, that they've stopped some patients that were about to go into surgery, to be able to get a trauma patient in to save a life.

I'd guess our Medic 6 was the crew that picked you up, as they are just across the highway from you. Take care, and watch them dizzy spells.
Sorry KZ5X, did'nt mean to hijack your post.
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:51 AM
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Not sure what the specific situation is in SFO but your son should check to be certain that such communications are not encrypted (beyond P25 digital trunking) or conducted by cell phone as it will be impossible to monitor with a scanner. Inquiries with knowledgeable people should also check to see if encryption is anticipated in the near future. The HIPPA smokescreen is the usual subterfuge for encryption.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:40 PM
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Being that some of these are off topic, let's get back to what was asked. San Francisco County is mixed mode analog and digital. If your son is looking for a small scanner, the 396T and 396XT will fit what he is looking for. Most of the EMS TG's are digital. Any public service responding, i.e. SO, PD, FD have digital TG's. The 106/500 ht's are just a bit bigger. Any of the four will do the job. There is free software for the Unidens: ScanNow.org - The Home of FreeSCAN! and thirty day free trial for the 106/500: Software for RadioShack PRO-series (PRO-92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 163, 164, 106, 197) and GRE PSR-series (PSR-500, 600, 300, 400) scanners
HTH,
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Old 02-01-2010, 4:43 PM
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I would have to say, though, that while not a doctor, I've spent all too many months in a hospital, and, bluntly, a doctor on duty does not have the time or attention to monitor a scanner effectively, but could compromise patient care by being distracted.

Carrying/listening to a scanner takes some active attention, will require an earphone in a hospital, and will mean listening to a very busy channel, even if he only listens to the single talkgroup involved in trauma care calls for his hospital.

I've listened to these channels (in San Diego), and they are all very busy. Listen to more than one, and chatter will be near constant, and distracting. I really doubt a doctor treating patients will be able to afford that distraction.
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Old 02-01-2010, 5:30 PM
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I know this is OT, but...

With all due respect, I am with SkipSanders on this one. I find the notion that a doctor would abandon his post in the ICU or somewhere else in a hospital and rush over the the ER because of something he heard on his personal scanner totally ludicrous. Of course I can understand that in cases of a large-scale catastrophic situation that elective surgeries would have to be cancelled so that the hospital's resources can be focused on the situation at hand, but again, I wouldn't think that would be the doctor's call based on something he heard on his personal scanner.

If I am a trauma surgeon and I am not in the ER at the time, I believe it is incumbent upon the hospital to provide me with the necessary means of communication so they can locate me when they need me. It should not be my responsibility to figure out on my own when I should be there by providing my own scanner.
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Old 02-01-2010, 5:47 PM
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Maybe the doc wants to listen in when he's not on duty. It's not uncommon either for a surgeon to be called in to help out from off duty. Why accuse the hospital that they are lacking? I can't understand why there are so many dang negative people on here blasting the situation, that you obviously don't fully understand, but, that is the way this blog works it seems. Everybody trying to prove they are smarter than anybody else, even if they don't have expertise in that area. This ends my comments on the subject.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:41 AM
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No one said they were smarter than anyone else. We haven't even heard from the OP since his first post so all anyone here can do is guess when it comes to his true motivation. Obviously we are not getting the whole story here (and rarely do on most forums!). There is a doctor somewhere in the San Francisco area who, for some reason, does not believe his employer is relaying information to him in a timely manner. This is an internal communications issue between him and his employer, pure and simple. If he wants to listen to EMS activity during his off time, that is one thing, but I am having a hard time seeing how a scanner will help him do a better job while he is on duty.

I am certainly not smarter than anyone else on this subject. Quite the contrary. I really don't know anything about the chain of communications in an ER which is why I asked my original question about how internal ER communications work.
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Old 02-02-2010, 3:20 AM
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In San Diego county trauma calls from the field to the trauma centers go over the RCS and city TRS. Paramedic in the field contacts a hospital base (not necessarily the destination hospital) and the report is given to a RN working in the radio room and entered into the computer. (I think this is a database that the county? compiles, but I am not sure). If the destination hospital will be a different hospital than the one running the call, the RN will call by phone the destination hospital and give the report. I would imagine the destination hospital can pull up the computerized record that the RN is typing in, but again, I'm not sure.

If the doctor wants to listen in as the field units are communicating to the hospital, he would have to know the means by which this is done in SF. If by radio, then he'd have to carry a scanner. Not exactly something a doctor working in a hospital would or should be doing.
If I was about to be treated by a doctor toting a scanner I'd probably run to another hospital. Many hospitals have scanners in the ERs that listen to the local EMS and PD, etc. but these are usually stationary and in a non-patient care area.

All trauma centers have a means to notify staff as soon as the information is provided so nobody is being left out in the dark. Many times, the trauma callout in the hospital is done as soon as the radio RN starts the conversation with the paramedic and gains knowledge of the incoming trauma patient.

Trauma centers are oftentimes teaching hospitals associated with a University, and there are ALWAYS, at the very least, residents and interns on duty 24 hours a day on campus. And yes, your trauma resuscitation may be conducted by surgery residents before the actual attending (the experienced guy) gets there.

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Old 02-02-2010, 11:49 AM
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It may be as simple as just wanting to know what 's going on when you're in the cafeteria, or taking a break, or heading toward the restroom. Or off duty. I'm trying not to read stuff in the OP that isn't there.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:53 AM
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My wild-a-s-s-guess is he is an intern or resident and wants a leg up to catch the "good" cases, but then again, I may be reading more into the post than was written.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:25 PM
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With out looking too far into it maybe he just wants to listen in from the Dr. lounge, or for any number of reasons. To the OP check out the Wiki and the database for the info you are looking for.
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