Tag Archives: Emergency Medicine

National Disaster Life Support Foundation signs agreement to make courses available in China

The National Disaster Life Support Foundation, based at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has signed an agreement with the Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai and Xingcheng Medical Consulting & Services Company to teach standardized courses on disaster support throughout China.

The courses are part of a program designed to help a wide array of providers – from police to paramedics to hospital administrators and firefighters – best work together in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters. It was developed as an outgrowth of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, when it became apparent that responding agencies are often trained differently.

The program includes a Core Disaster Life Support Course® that gives hospital-based and frontline medical providers the essentials of natural and man-made disaster management. Basic and advanced courses offer progressively more hands-on training and knowledge. The overarching goal is to give all types of responders a common knowledge base and jargon and to eliminate ambiguity, said Dr. Richard Schwartz, chairman of the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalists Services, who had the original idea for the program.

The courses, first introduced in 1999, were developed by the Medical College of Georgia, University of Georgia, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of Texas at Houston’s School of Public Health. The nonprofit National Disaster Life Support Foundation was established in 2004 to oversee the program, and they began a partnership with the American Medical Association to widely disseminate the program in 2006.

Today, there are about 90 domestic training sites, and courses have been taught in 49 states and in more than 20 foreign countries. There are training sites in 11 countries, including places like Mexico, Japan, India and Saudi Arabia, and now China, the world’s most populous country.

“The courses are unique and valuable because they are standardized across all disciplines of first responders; they deal with all types of hazards, and they are competency based,” said Jack Horner, executive director of the NDLSF. “To date, more than 120,000 students have been trained, and a growing number of health professional schools have added the program to their curriculum. Disasters know no borders and they know no language barrier either.”

Know your ABCs of pool safety

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Drowning is the number one killer of children under the age of 5.

“What makes this statistic even more tragic is that these young children are more likely to drown in a residential swimming pool than in any other body of water,” said Dr. Natalie Lane, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

“What we often hear in the emergency room is that a group was gathered at the pool for an event or party, but no one was taking ownership of watching the children in the pool,” said Lane. “Unfortunately, folks think someone else is watching the kids, or falsely assume that everyone is keeping an eye out. This is where the trouble begins.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid installing a swimming pool until children are over age 5. However, if you own a pool, or use one, Lane recommends that you follow the “ABCs” of pool safety:

Abide by the Rules
• Never leave children alone in or near the pool.
• Children should be supervised by an adult who can swim.
• Maintain a clear, unobstructed view of children at all times.
• Do not substitute inflatable flotation devices for approved life vests.
• Keep children from playing or swimming near pool drains, pipes and other openings.
• After your family is done swimming, remove toys and floats from pool area that could attract children to the water.

Be Prepared
• Teach children how to swim; at the very least, they should learn basic water safety tips.
• Parents and caregivers should learn CPR and rescue breathing. The key to better outcomes in near drowning is bystander CPR.
• Don’t panic. If your child is missing, look for him or her in the pool first.
• Formulate an emergency action plan with your children and rehearse each family member’s role.
• Keep a phone available at the poolside in case of emergencies.

Childproof Your Pool

• Install a self-latching and self-closing fence around the pool area. Fences should be at least 4 feet high.
• A safety cover should be placed over the water area when the pool is not in use.
• Keep rescue equipment and emergency phone numbers poolside.
• Install a pool alarm to alert you when children are near the water.
• Have a qualified professional inspect drain suction fittings and covers on a regular basis to ensure they meet current safety standards.

Swimming provides great fun and exercise for kids. But always remember to play it safe during pool time.

The 154-bed CHOG is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. Visit CHOG at facebook.com/GAChildrens and twitter.com/GAChildrens

Celebrate GRHealth this May

Nurses Week, May 6-12

Hospital Week will be celebrated from May 10 to 16 with a variety of events.

On Monday, employees can get healthy snacks in Terrace Dining .

On Tuesday, there will be random drawings for a variety of goods and services.

On Wednesday, there will be a GRHealth double wall tumbler giveaway.

On Friday, 3rd shift will receive biscuits and there will be an Employee Cookout.

EMS Week, May 17-23

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Become a member of the GRU Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT)

In partnership with Richmond County Emergency Management, the office of Critical Events Preparedness & Response (CEPaR) will be hosting the first CERT training program here at GRU and GRHealth. Students, Faculty, Staff & Volunteers are encouraged to participate.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be given an Emergency Response Kit and will be prepared to assist their family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in those crucial minutes and hours just after disaster strikes. As a member of the GRU CERT, you will be prepared to respond and assist throughout GRU and GRHealth.

The first course will begin on May 7, 2015 and will meet each Thursday thereafter from 6 to 9 pm through June 18, 2015, followed by an exercise to practice all that was learned. This course is being offered FREE OF CHARGE to all GRU / GRHealth Students, Faculty, Staff, & Volunteers. We will need between 25 and 30 folks to make this class work. If you are interested in attending this inaugural class, simply send an email to: CEPAR@gru.edu.

U.S. Congressman Rick Allen tours GRU

U.S. Congressman Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) toured Georgia Regents University and spoke with faculty members about GRU’s cyber education program and future plans for university facilities. In addition to the GRU campus, Allen also visited Georgia Regents Medical Center’s Emergency Department and spoke with medical staff about initiatives they are implementing to strengthen emergency care and address challenges in rural health. Read more about the visit. 

Training opportunity for volunteers needed to help during a crisis

Each year, hundreds of communities across the country find themselves in crisis mode awaiting the response of fire departments, EMS, and police. Unfortunately, during these crisis events, public safety is overtasked. Compounded with downed trees and other obstructions, the response can be delayed for several hours or, in worse case scenarios, several days.

Identifying a need for early response in these types of events, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was born. As an extension of the Citizens Corp and operated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CERT programs have had tremendous success and contributed to hundreds of lives saved since its inception in 2003. Today, there are over 2,200 CERT programs in the United States, including two in the CSRA. CERT members undergo a formalized training, which teaches several emergency response topics such as Search & Rescue, Light Fire Suppression, and Disaster First Aid and Medical Triage.

In partnership with Richmond County Emergency Management, the Office of Critical Events Preparedness & Response (CEPaR) will be hosting the first CERT training program here at GRU and GRHealth. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be given an Emergency Response Kit and will be prepared to assist their family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in those crucial minutes and hours just after disaster strikes. As a member of GRU CERT, you will be prepared to respond and assist throughout GRU and GRHealth.

The first course will begin on May 7, 2015, and will meet each Thursday thereafter from 6 to 9 p.m. through June 18, 2015, followed by an exercise to practice all that was learned. This course is being offered FREE OF CHARGE to all GRU/GRHealth students, faculty, and staff. We will need between 25 and 30 folks to make this class work. If you are interested in attending this inaugural class, click here.  Once you are certain you can attend, simply send an email to CEPAR@gru.edu. A formal registration link will be sent out the first week of April for official registration.

Are you interested in becoming an Emergency Response Volunteer but don’t have time for the CERT classes? Consider becoming an Amateur Radio Operator. These volunteers are crucial during any disaster. Within our own emergency plans at GRU, we utilize these volunteers to facilitate communications with local and state partners. For more information, click here.

Eight steps to help beat the summer heat

AUGUSTA, Ga. – There were 92 heat-related deaths across the nation in 2013, according to the National Weather Service. With the temperature expected to reach 100 degrees this weekend, the official start of summer, emergency medicine experts at Georgia Regents Medical Center, recommend these eight steps to beat the summer heat:

  1. Schedule outdoor activities strategically. If you must be outdoors, try to limit activity to early morning or early evening hours. Take breaks regularly in shady areas or indoors so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover.
  2. Pace yourself. If you don’t frequently exercise or work in a hot climate, begin slowly, and gradually increase the pace. Avoid overexertion. If activities in the heat make your heart pound and leave you gasping for breath, stop, move to a cool or shaded area, and rest – especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
  3. Avoid direct sunlight. If you can, stay out of the sun. But always use sunscreen to reduce the heat absorbed and the moisture lost from the body. Additionally, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat that covers as much as the head as possible. If you work in the sun, be sure to take frequent breaks and don’t push yourself to hard.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the needed salt and minerals you lose in sweat. It’s important to keep drinking water.
  5. Swimming is not “hydrating.” Don’t make the mistake of thinking swimming will hydrate you. When you swim, you are exercising and, therefore, losing water and other nutrients. If heading to the pool, you’d be wise to take along plenty of bottled water.
  6. Avoid certain hot foods. Do not eat a heavy or hot meal before going outside in hot weather. This will heat your body faster, making you more vulnerable. Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar – these cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid extremely cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps.
  7. Use a buddy system: During outside activities in hot weather, keep an eye on the conditions of your family, children, friends or co-workers, and have someone look out for you, too. If you are 65 or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. Likewise, if you know someone in this age group, check on them frequently.
  8. Stay inside: If you don’t have to go outside, stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment. If your home has no air conditioning, find a public place that does. A few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you return to the heat. Taking cool showers or baths is also a good way to keep your body temperature cool if you don’t have air conditioning. Also, avoid using your stove and oven as they can significantly raise the temperature in your home.

People suffer heat-related illnesses when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. Summertime activity, whether in the garden, on the playing field, at the beach or at the construction site, should be balanced with measures that aid the body’s cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness.

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person is overexposed to heat, resulting in loss of body water and salt. Symptoms include weakness, heavy sweating, nausea, giddiness, dizziness, collapse, fatigue and cool, clammy, red or flushed skin. Those suffering from heat exhaustion should immediately go inside. Rest, cool drinks and cool baths are recommended.

Heat stroke, the most severe heat-related illness, occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. Temperatures may rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. If you suspect someone has had a heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

Federal agency recommends change to triage guideline

A new guideline for triaging mass casualty victims has been recommended by a federal emergency medical services agency for use by all state and local EMS groups.

The Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services has recommended that state and local EMS agencies improve their mass casualty triage capabilities by adopting the new guideline and released an implementation plan for meeting that recommendation nationally.

The guideline, dubbed the Model Uniform Core Criteria, or MUCC, identifies the key features that should be included in a mass casualty triage system and is designed to standardize the process and improve interoperability between agencies when they respond to an emergency with multiple casualties. One of the guideline’s key recommendations is to quickly identify those with life-threatening injuries and provide immediate lifesaving interventions, such as placing a tourniquet to stop a victim from bleeding to death.

“Having a national standard for mass casualty triage means that all responders in these chaotic and rapidly changing situations will be operating from the same sheet of music. This will help to ensure that as many lives as possible are saved,” said Dr. E. Brooke Lerner, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Deputy Director of MCW’s Injury Research Center.

“Based on the lessons learned from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the MUCC ensures that critical patients with potential for survival get immediate help by incorporating quick lifesaving interventions, such as a tourniquet or opening their airway. The lifesaving interventions are integrated directly into the triage protocol,” said Dr. Richard Schwartz, Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Schwartz was Principal Investigator on the grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that enabled broad-scale assessment of existing military and civilian triage protocols. Lerner led the 30-member multidisciplinary working group representing federal and academic institutions that developed the MUCC guideline.

“Most triage protocols used in the United States today do not include lifesaving interventions,” Schwartz said. “This guideline will ensure that all responders to a mass casualty incident are providing lifesaving interventions that only take seconds to do then quickly moving to the next victim.”

The Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services represents the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Communication Commission. The committee has indicated federal dollars may be available to help implement the protocols across the nation.

Pediatric Emergency Department gets a new look

ER renovationsRenovations to the Pediatric Emergency Department were completed in early January, and the changes are more than just cosmetic.

“We increased our capacity by three rooms, and that can make a large difference in the number of patients you are able to treat,” Pediatric Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Natalie Lane said. “We treat almost 30,000 patients a year, and we needed this expansion to grow.”

The renovations also created new intake and triage procedures that allow the Emergency Department to treat patients more quickly and with greater efficiency.

“We now have a station where a greeter helps the patients register,” Lane said. “Now our nurses can focus more on triage and treatment. Also, we redesigned a preexisting room in the waiting area where we could examine patients faster and get a better idea of what treatment may be needed. Some less severe cases may receive treatment at that point and not even require the use of an emergency bed, which saves rooms for more ill patients and reduces waiting times for all patients.”

The renovation also gives them more flexibility and bigger beds for some patients, which can be important as the Pediatric Emergency Department treats children up to 18 years of age. The new paint, wall protection, and flooring will provide a fresh look for years to come. “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to make this change for our patients and our staff,” Lane said.

The renovations were not easy, according to Facilities Project Manager Jon Graybeal.

“We tried to do most of the work late at night, hopefully, to disrupt fewer people,” he said. “But it is hard to do that work when the place is always open.”

According to Graybeal, the renovations included new exam rooms, a new entrance, and a repurposing of several areas. The ED also received new furniture, lighting, wiring, paint, flooring, and more.

“We started in July and finished up early this month (January),” he said.

EMS-trained physician joins first-response team for area’s worst accidents, disasters

BurgbacherwebThe region’s first fellowship-trained emergency medical services physician is now part of the first-response team managing the worst accidents and disasters in the Augusta area.

Dr. Todd Burgbacher, who completed his emergency medicine residency at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Regents Health System last year, has returned to MCG and Georgia Regents University after completing a one-year Emergency Medical Services fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

EMS is a new medical subspecialty in the United States that focuses on pre-hospital care and the infrastructure supporting it.

Starting this week, Burgbacher joins Gold Cross EMS and the Augusta Fire Department at scenes such as vehicle extrications, field amputations, and mass casualties as well as more typical 911 calls in Richmond, Columbia and Jefferson counties in a fully-equipped GRU/GR Health emergency response vehicle.

“Dr. Burgbacher will be out on the front line for worst-case scenarios, able to work directly with EMTs and paramedics, to supervise and educate real time; and to improve care in the field,” said Dr. Richard Schwartz, Chairman of the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine and Hospitalist Services.

“This is a great thing for our community and the next step in providing exceptional emergency and trauma care and training to our region. It’s expanding our emergency care from the emergency department to the pre-hospital setting and expanding our EMS education as well,” Schwartz said.

MCG and GR Health System plan to establish an EMS fellowship to train more physicians like Burgbacher starting in July 2014.
Dr. John McManus, who directed the U.S. Army EMS for three years, created the first emergency medicine fellowship in the Armed Services, and closed the last Army field hospital in Iraq, joined the MCG faculty Nov. 1 to help build and direct the fellowship. The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education approved EMS fellowships, such as the one Burgbacher recently completed, in September 2012.

As part of a related educational expansion, the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine also is developing a year-long paramedic course. Faculty and staff already teach a three-month EMT course, which is regularly taken by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s elite hostage rescue teams

Burgbacher, who also will serve as Assistant Medical Director of Gold Cross, will work closely with Gold Cross Medical Director Dr. Jimmy L. Peebles, to expand and refine protocols for area EMTs and paramedics. Burgbacher also is Medical Director for the air ambulance service, AirMed Augusta.

“Our EMS professionals already provide exceptional care to area citizens, but this brings us a step closer to delivering hospital-level care in the field,” Burgbacher said. As an example, physicians can administer a muscle relaxer to reestablish an airway in a patient with a significant head injury and resulting clenched jaw. Georgia’s scope of practice laws for paramedics prohibits ground crews from taking these extreme lifesaving measures, Burgbacher said.

“They can intubate, but they can’t give drugs to sedate people and they can’t give drugs to paralyze people if the patient is combative or has a clenched airway,” he said.

The newly-trained EMS and emergency medicine physician has previously worked as an instructor in the Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Programs in Augusta and Texas, and has served as Assistant Medical Director of the Augusta and San Antonio Fire Departments. He also worked as an EMT for about five years.

“This is where my passion is,” he said of the new job that has him again working as part of an emergency response team. Burgbacher, a native of Naples, Fla., thought he wanted to be an engineer but could not let go of an early fascination with emergency responders. He started volunteering, and became an EMT before starting medical school in 2005.

Earlier this year, MCG’s Center of Operational Medicine and Minnesota-based Vighter Medical Group signed a five-year contract to provide supplemental medical support to the FBI. It was the second renewal for MCG. The MCG Center work also works with local and state police, as well as other federal agencies to provide medical training and support to their forces and the medics assigned to them.

The center also has helped develop a series of courses used around the world that help a wide array of providers – from police to paramedics to hospital administrators and firefighters – work optimally together in the aftermath of natural and manmade disasters.

Locally, the MCG Department of Emergency Medicine also provides physicians for the emergency departments at Trinity Hospital of Augusta and the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Phillip Coule, Vice Chairman of Business Affairs for the Department of Emergency Medicine, has served as Medical Director of the Augusta Fire Department for a half dozen years.