Our healthcare professionals may be well-versed with trauma management in a hospital setting. But what happens when they are confronted with civilian emergencies with overwhelming casualties? The same principles of care may apply, but are they able to deliver pre-hospital trauma care effectively in a chaotic environment beyond their comfort zone?
In July and August 2019, SIMS and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) co-organised the Pre-Hospital Life Support (PHTLS) workshop at Academia (located in SGH campus), based on training programmes from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). The PHTLS workshop offered over 40 members of the field medical team, such as doctors, nurses and first responders, hands-on opportunities to practice pre-hospital trauma care in realistic environments.
"After experiencing disaster and trauma management training overseas, I realised acutely the need for such training in Singapore." Dr Jimmy Goh, Senior Consultant, Accident and Emergency Department, CGH and Course Director for PHTLS shared. "We are fortunate that Singapore has not seen many civilian mass casualty incidents. But because of that, it is important to ensure that field medical teams are adequately trained to manage severe traumatic injuries in an austere pre-hospital environment during times of crisis."
Over the two-day workshop, participants were guided through the various facets of pre-hospital trauma life support, which was reinforced by practical sessions and skill stations. To give participants a taste of responding in actual crises, standardised patients and moulage were also used to create highly realistic casualties for teams to attend to.
"Going through the interprofessional skills stations during the workshop was helpful." Dr Ronald Tan, Consultant, Department of Children's Emergency, KKH, and PHTLS course participant shared. "It was a good opportunity to practice new skillsets alongside medical and nursing colleagues. PHTLS utilises a structured approach tailored to the pre-hospital setting, which empowers teams to confidently assess and provide initial lifesaving interventions."
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