Philadelphia police use 'scoop and run' tactic to save lives

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As Philadelphia battles with a surge in crime, officers continue to do what they can to save lives, and every minute counts.

With increasing frequency, when police officers arrive on the scene, there are no paramedics nearby. They don't wait and watch a person die. They scoop them up, put them in their patrol car and rush them to a trauma center.

"It has saved lives," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Many of those patients end up at Temple University Hospital's trauma center.

"For us at the trauma center, it's quite important, our priority is to save lives of our patients," said Dr. Zoe Maher, a trauma surgeon.

According to Temple, 80 percent of their trauma patients are now either transported by police or private auto, as opposed to an ambulance.

"We have found it actually improves survival when a person is rapidly transported. It can make all the difference in the world. It can be life-saving," said Maher.

But sometimes the victim is beyond help and may be seen as a potential organ or tissue donor through Philadelphia's Gift of Life program, a program that has led the nation for 12 consecutive years.

"I don't know how close to death I was, but I was getting there," said donor-recipient John Branton.

Branton, 69, says he wouldn't be alive today if he had not received a liver from a donor 13 years ago.

"My donor saved my life and I am very grateful for that," he said.

The Philadelphia police effort known as 'Scoop and Run' has actually been in practice since 1987.

"Philadelphia is really the only city in the country that is implementing rapid pre-hospital transport by police," said Maher.

Dr. Maher says there's still not sufficient data to prove 'Scoop and Run' saves lives, but there's very good evidence based on retrospective evaluation that in some cases, it could be the difference between life and death.
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