Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wilderness First Responder Course August 2011

We have just finished up with the latest WEFR course. We had eight students and three instructors come from around Ireland come to Killarney for six days of intense medical education.

   The new location worked out well. We had much more room in the classroom as well as loads of space in the dining hall, lounge, library and TV room. There were 75 acres of woods where we went for our scenarios. There was also a pub not three minutes walk just down the road.
   The students had three instructors bring them from the First Aider level up to the Responder level of training. They started off with four hours of Anatomy and Physiology that involved dissecting sheep's hearts and lungs. The students got to inflate the lungs using a bag valve mask and an ET tube. It was important for them to see how the lung inflates and what happens when you over ventilate that casualty.

   The students got to learn how to assess the casualty using an otoscope. 

   Wilderness wound management taught the students how to clean and dress lacerations in remote settings. Part of this course was on the importance of irrigation for dirty wounds. The students were given pigs feet that had cuts and dirt pushed into the wounds. Their job was to irrigate and debride the flesh before dressing them in wet-to-dry dressings. For long term field care they were given the option to treat infected wounds with sugar therapy or honey.

   For the Remote Medic, improvisation is vastly important. During the Wilderness First Responder course the students were taught ways to think outside the box when assessing and treating wounds. One of the subjects was the Improvised Traction Splint.

   The students also got to practise improvising arm slings.

   It is pretty amazing what these students can do with an old tee shirt and a pair of trauma shears.

   Since these students will be practising their new skills out in the wilds of Ireland and other places it is important for them to learn how to deal with environmental injuries. Here is what the students built to deal with a hypothermic casualty. This is called the Hypothermic Wrap.

   There were classes on minor cuts and sprains. Here is a picture of a cut closed with Steristrips. The students learned how to use Friar's Balsam to make the Steristrips last for several days. They used Tegaderm transparent dressings to put over the injury. One student emailed the instructors several days after the course ended to say that his Tegaderm lasted eight days! This is a great way to keep a minor cut clean and dry in the wilderness.

   The six day course ended with OSCEs and MCQ exams. All of the students passed their tests and Remote Medicine Ireland is proud to welcome eight new Wilderness First Responders!

More information on the WFR course offered by RMI can be found here.

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