Pasos en Atención – Course Update

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We are now three days into our course.  As we had planned, the program is effectively integrating local experts as guest lecturers and allowing students taking the lead on areas of their own expertise; A Tu Lado instructors are collaborating with each of these partners to intentionally standardize terms and practices.

On Wednesday (Día 3 – Pasos en Atención), Seth, Ethan and Terence walked students through a complete vehicle extrication and initial and secondary assessments. We spent 45 minutes on a patient interview and assessment that would typically take 10 minutes, allowing everyone to get a full grasp on each step we are looking for during our practice scenarios.

Following the demonstration, students practiced backboarding and loading patients into airplanes.  Although many are experienced medics, we often find they do not safely backboard –something we also noted during our needs assessment in February.  To address this and other areas meriting extra attention, we are lengthening today’s class by an hour. When we suggested this to the class yesterday, students unanimously agreed — a strong sign they are learning and appreciate the course.

The highlight of Day 3 was improvised transportation, which was led by a student, Jaime Barrionuevo, who is both a member of the Bolivian Narcotraffic Police force and an instructor in one of Bolivia’s most esteemed military police academies. In a matter of minutes, he taught the class how to build backboards and stretchers from poles and doors, sheets and shirts.  After activating the ambulance sirens and blasting open a smoke grenade, he ran students through a series of obstacles while carrying each other on their improvised equipment.  The final obstacle was a two-foot deep mud pit.

Today’s lesson plan: teach each vital sign in depth; introduce documentation systems/protocols (forms that students will complete following each practice scenario for the remainder of the course), and run two scenarios — organophosphate poisoning, and multiple trauma — requiring continual monitoring of patients’ vital signs.

Will Chilton
Car Crash Scenario

Will Chilton
Practicing with Mano a Mano’s Aircraft

Will Chilton
Loading a Patient Out of a Plane

Will Chilton
Students practicing with make-shift stretcher

Will Chilton
Running through an Obstacle Course

Will Chilton

Carrying patients through a swamp