A training exercise gives doctors and paramedics a feel for using point-of-care ultrasound in challenging environments
Emergency teams have recently carried out a training exercise at the vast Stuttgart 21 construction project, using the experience to become more familiar with the site and practise with routine equipment in tunnels as far down as 40 metres, preparing them as much as possible for future emergency calls to the area. Stuttgart 21 is a massive building project based around the main railway station that will result in the current terminus becoming a through station, and a new line connecting directly to Ulm. In total, around 60 km of railway tunnels will be built under the city – over 20 km have already been completed – and, according to current estimates, the project is scheduled to finish in 2021.
Stephan Rauscher, Consultant Anaesthetist in the emergency department of the Katharinenhospital in Stuttgart, organised the training event. He explained: “With such a huge project active in our city over so many years, it is more than likely that our teams will be called on to attend either injuries or normal medical emergencies at the site, and some have already done so. We are constantly training and updating our teams but rarely get to practise techniques in the ‘real world’; this unique exercise gave us an excellent opportunity to familiarise ourselves as much as possible with the whole operation. The day was coordinated with our local fire, rescue and ambulance services, as well as the project’s own safety teams, who demonstrated the excellent rescue plans they already have in place, and vehicles and elevators that have been specially equipped to get sick or injured patients from the tunnels back to the surface.”
As well as practicing some specific skills, such as inserting chest drains, the participants also gained experience of using point-of-care ultrasound in a pre-hospital setting. Stephan added: “We use point-of-care ultrasound in our emergency department every day for guiding vascular access, FAST, thoracic sonography, echocardiography, and scanning for pneumothorax, pleural effusion and pneumonia, so we were very grateful to FULJIFILM SonoSite when they offered to provide us with two Edge® systems and an iViz™ to use for the day. Although we don’t currently have ultrasound systems available to our emergency response teams, I know of many colleagues in Germany who do, and I can see real potential for us using this technology in the future. It was very helpful to be able to train with the systems, demonstrate how they could be used in many trauma situations, and develop skills that we will use every day, wherever we are in the city. Overall, the exercise was a great success; it was very impressive to see the construction site close up and I am confident that my colleagues will feel so much better now that they know what to expect.”
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About FUJIFILM SonoSite, Inc.
SonoSite helped pioneer the concept of portable, point-of-care ultrasound, and it continues to be a world-leading manufacturer and innovator of bedside ultrasound systems as well as an industry leader in ultra high-frequency micro-ultrasound technology. Headquartered near Seattle, the company is represented by 26 subsidiaries and a global distribution network in over 100 countries. SonoSite’s portable, compact systems are expanding the use of ultrasound across the clinical spectrum by cost-effectively bringing high-performance ultrasound to the point of patient care. For more information, go to: www.sonosite.com/de.
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