Advanced trauma life support training for A&E at Victoria Hospital

With increasing levels of trauma due to traffic accidents, stabbings, shootings and the like, doctors and nurses of the Accident and Emergency Department at the Victoria Hospital this week participated in a two day Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training course. The course was facilitated by Ryder Trauma Center/University of Miami.

The Victoria Hospital sees the majority of Trauma cases on island.  With an uptake in trauma cases in the last 4 years, the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) has moved more aggressively to a protocol driven, systematic approach to the trauma patient. Head of A&E, Dr. Lisa Charles said it’s vital that across the board doctors and nurses have an approach to trauma which ensures they don’t miss major injuries.  She fully endorsed the two day Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course coordinated by the Ryder Trauma Centre in Miami.

“The training in trauma life support is applicable to any trauma patient in any hospital. In fact the trauma course itself is designed for hospital where immediate care by surgeons is not available on occasion. So it gives for instance the ER Physician the capabilities to manage and stabilize the patient over a period of time before we can get the patient to definitive care. So it’s applicable everywhere. Certainly at Victoria Hospital we have access to surgeons but in the middle of the night sometimes you have ER Physicians who are on their own and it’s really important that that they have the practice skills and the knowledge to know what to do in that first half hour in terms of stabilizing the trauma patient, recognizing life threatening injuries and intervening appropriately.”

Holders of the ATLS certification must do a refresher course every four years in order to retain this certification. The Ryder Treatment Centre will also assist the Victoria Hospital to initiate a trauma alert system, develop trauma treatment guidelines and a trauma data registry. One of the facilitators, Dr. Daniel Pust stated that trauma is the most common cause of death among children to adults aged forty however the course focuses on more than just trauma care.

“But also important community outreach programmes in order to teach certain safety efforts like wearing a seat belt when you operate your motor vehicle, violence prevention programmes to reduce the amount of gunshot wound victims and stab wound victims. So community our reach programmes is a very important step. Also, child safety and child safety seats in motor vehicles are very important to prevent trauma. So a big aspect of this initiative is also prevention of injury and trauma.”

Course Director for the (ATLS) programme in Miami, Dr. George Garcia provided further insight into the programe.

“So the course is sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trama. It is currently taught is over 60 countries and we are extremely proud and grateful to add St. Lucia to that list. The most recent statistic is there are over a million providers worldwide training in ATLS.”

There were 20 Participants in this first round of training conducted under the umbrella of the St Lucia Heart Lung and Blood Foundation.  Participants included: general surgeons and ER Physicians, nurses from ER and the operating theatre, Anesthesiologist and Junior ER Physicians.

1 Comment

  1. Jay
    February 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    I have a question if your specialty/area of specialization is ER (Emergency Room) ATLS should already be a pre requisite for working in the ER. How can an ER physician not have ATLS certification/requirement already included in his residency training? I’m just saying ….now when you are already trained …then recertification is necessary every four years.

    Additionally, perhaps it would have been cheaper for at least 6 physicians to obtain the ATLS instructor training in the US/Canada. These certified instructors would then be able to train as many healthcare professionals in St. Lucia on an ongoing basis.

    Your ambulance personnel would also require training to be able to adequately handle/stabilize victims prior to arrival at the hospital. If you are not trained in stabilization of victims you can make injuries worst or even fatal.

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