Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions


Ketchikan Doctors Train for Advanced Trauma Life Support


October 04, 2003
Saturday - 1:00 am

Ketchikan General Hospital (KGH) is the site of an Advanced Trauma Life Support training course for doctors - a program of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. The two-day course instructed by trauma surgeons from Harborview Medical Center of Seattle who are famous in their field began on Friday and will continue Saturday.

The course is for doctors, although nurses and paramedics are allowed to audit the course.
The training addresses treatment to patients prior to arriving at the hospital, as well as in the hospital setting, and covers:

  • Assessing the patient's condition rapidly and accurately
  • Resuscitating and stabilizing the patient according to priority
  • Determining if the patient's needs exceed a facility's capabilities
  • Arranging appropriately for the patient's interhospital transfer (what, who, when and how).
  • Assuring optimum care is provided

The training includes lecture and written tests, but also hands-on training with Trauma Man, a "dummy" made to simulate human injuries. Upon completion of the course, testing includes both a written test, as well as live actors dressed as injury victims with specific injuries presented to the participants to test their trauma care decisions.

It is known that trauma (accidental injury) is the leading cause of death in the first four decades of life (ages 1-44). The rate of disability from these injuries is even higher.

"Before 1980 the delivery of trauma care by doctors in the United States was at best inconsistent. A tragedy occurred in February 1976 that changed trauma care in the "first hour" for the injured patient in the United States and in much of the rest of the world. An orthopedic surgeon, piloting his plane, crashed in a rural Nebraska cornfield. The surgeon sustained serious injuries, three of this children sustained critical injuries, and one child sustained minor injuries. His wife was killed instantly. The care he and his family received was inadequate by the day's standards. The surgeon, recognizing how inadequate his treatment was, stated: 'When I can provide better care in the field with .imited resources than what my children and I received at the primary care facility, there is something wrong with the system and the system has to be changed.'" (source: ATLS Student Course Manual, 1997, p. 11)

This experience eventually inspired the concepts and practices of Advanced Trauma Life Support which is taught in this two-day course.

Prior to the inception of this course, the approach to treating the injured patient as taught in medical schools was the same as the approach to patients with any undiagnosed illness (obtain a medical history, do a thorough physical examination, etc. to determine diagnosis) It was found that this was inadequate to save lives in the throes of trauma. The new approach developed was - despite the lack of a definitive diagnosis of injury - to use an ABCDE approach to treatment of the injured:

Airway with cervical spine protection
Circulation-control external bleeding
Disability or neurologic status
Exposure (undress) and Environment (temperature control)

Ketchikan physicians are participating in this two-day training in the 2 North Conference Room (old Long Term Care Activity Room) at Ketchikan General Hospital.



Source of News Release:

Ketchikan General Hospital
Web Site


E-mail Editor:
Post a Comment
-------View Comments
Submit an Opinion - Letter

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska