Dr. Casey Patrick recently returned from a volunteer stint with GEC teaching Emergency Care Practitioners…
“I was particularly impressed with the breadth of knowledge that the ECPs demonstrated. On a daily basis, they provided critical and life saving care to patients with a variety of illnesses.”
By: Dr. David Barney, GEC Volunteer
As an emergency medicine attending physician volunteer for GEC I had an invaluable experience in Uganda. I spent three weeks at Masaka hospital in the city of Masaka and three weeks at Nyakibale hospital in the smaller town of Rukungiri
At Masaka I was able to see and be an integral part of the foundation of the GEC program. This is the site where the senior emergency care providers (ECPs) teach the junior ECPs. I was impressed by the organization and effectiveness of the training program. The junior ECPs attend 12 hours a week of dedicated education time including lectures, simulation cases and discussion run by volunteer physicians and the senior ECPs. In this role I would review the teaching material with the senior ECPs so they could be most effective at teaching the junior ECPs. The rest of their time is spent in the busy Masaka hospital emergency room. Here the ECPs take their knowledge from the classroom to the patient. As patients arrived one after another such as a 9 year old girl with recurring malaria to a 4 year old female drowning victim to a 43 year old man with a head injury the junior ECPs primarily treat the patients while I would fill in the gaps and push them to think critically.
At Nyakibale hospital I was able to see the fruition of the hard work that GEC does. At this hospital there was a fully functional emergency room with a complete staff of well trained emergency care providers. I was particularly impressed with the breadth of knowledge that the ECPs demonstrated. On a daily basis, they provided critical and life saving care to patients with a variety of illnesses. This includes stabilizing patients with serious traumatic injuries by transfusing blood and notifying the surgeon. Another example is the ECPs quickly identifying and treating patients with life threatening infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and measles by giving the appropriate IV fluids and antibiotics.
GEC not only provides great emergency medical care for the people of Uganda but also is an important program for the visiting physicians such as myself. I know that helping the people of Uganda has renewed my passion for medicine which will last me for years to come.