Doctors train to save lives from virus in ‘seconds’
A YOUNG man is in a critical condition with COVID-19 infection in his lungs.
His only hope is to get on a ventilator at Byron Bay Hospital.
The amount of oxygen in his blood is critically low and there's a chance he's about to have a cardiac arrest or get a brain injury.
This is the scenario specialist clinicians are using to train in preparation for any second wave of patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) that may present at Byron Bay Hospital.
Part of the Emergency Medicine Education Training (EMET) program, clinicians in Northern NSW Local Health District are getting skilled in lifesaving resuscitation procedures such intubation and ventilation in negative pressure rooms, practised in a simulation setting on manikins.
Byron Central Hospital Emergency Department specialist, Dr Blake Eddington, said the training is important to ensure the best care and safety practices for patients in the region.
"It is extremely difficult and has to be done very, very quickly," he said.
"People come in with low oxygen stats and you have literally seconds to get a tube in their airway to start breathing for them.
"In order to get a tube in their airway you have to paralyse the patient and when they are paralysed they don't breathe, and so we have literally seconds to get the tube in and that is why it is so crucial we train twice a week.
"Almost like a pit crew in a formula one racetrack, it has to be slick and fast because if there are mistakes people die."
As part of the training, clinicians wear full Personal Protective Equipment, to simulate a real-life scenario, with preparation being a key component of infection control.
"Because this training funded through the Federal Department of Health and the Australasian College of Medicine, hospitals all around Australia are running these lifesaving scenarios which protect patients but also protect staff and their community as a whole," he said.