Inexperienced but Confident: A Survey of Advanced Life Support Providers and Life-saving Interventions in the Israel Defense Forces

Nadav Haddad, Avishai M. Tsur, Roy Nadler, Elon Glassberg, Avi Benov, Jacob Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the current experience of Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) advanced life support (ALS) providers in performing life-saving interventions (LSIs), the rate of doctors and paramedics achieving the Trauma and Combat Medicine Branch benchmarks, and the rate of providers feeling confident in performing the interventions although not achieving the benchmarks. Methods: This study was based on an online survey delivered to IDF ALS providers. The survey investigated demographics; experience in performing endotracheal intubation, cricothyroidotomy, tube thoracostomy, and intraosseous access on human patients; and confidence in performing these LSIs. All benchmarks chosen referred to the number of times performed in the previous year. The benchmarks were 20 for intubation, 3 for cricothyroidotomy, 4 for tube thoracostomy, and 3 for intraosseous access. Results: During the survey period, 175 IDF ALS providers started the survey, but only 138 (79%) completed it, 93 (67%) of them were paramedics. Doctors had higher rates than paramedics of failing to achieve the benchmarks for intubation (96 vs. 57%, P <.001) and intraosseous access (100 vs. 66%, P <.001). All respondents failed to achieve the benchmark for cricothyroidotomy, and all but one paramedic failed to achieve the tube thoracostomy benchmark. Doctors had lower rates of high confidence when failing to achieve the benchmark for intubation (35 vs. 64%, P =.008) and intraosseous access (7 vs. 31%, P =.005) compared to paramedics. Conclusion: IDF ALS providers have alarmingly limited experience in performing LSIs. Many of them are confident in their ability despite not achieving evidence-based benchmarks. Additional training is required, maybe as a part of an annual medical fitness test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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