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Challenges Of Emergency Care In A Low-resource Setting

Written by: Amy Walsh, MD, GECC Volunteer Physician

One of the great privileges and challenges of providing emergency care is the need to be prepared to provide life-saving and disability preventing procedures at a moment’s notice. This can be especially challenging when the condition is rare. Some procedures may need to be performed only once or twice in a practitioners career. How do we get ECPs the experience they need before that rare patient comes in?

ECPs participate in monthly procedure labs, where they practice important skills that can save a patient’s life, sight, limb, fertility. This month ECPs practiced three important head and neck procedures. We practiced a procedure to relieve pressure on a bleeding eye using ping-pong balls, cardboard, and rubber bands. Using rubber gloves fills with dish soap, ECPs tried their hands and draining a severe infection of the throat. They also had the chance to practice packing severe bloody noses using potatoes and drink mix.

Though different from real patients, these simulations get ECPs thinking about when and how to perform the procedure before the real thing happens. Junior ECP Deus said of the session, “I really appreciate the way I can help somebody who has a nosebleed by packing it and I will continue practicing it.”

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