Advanced Trauma Care Training Launches at MTRH

 Learning the proper leg rolling and neck collar techniques at ATLS training.

Learning the proper leg rolling and neck collar techniques at ATLS training.

When serious or life threatening injuries occur, actions by care providers in the first minutes and hours often determine whether a patient survives. High quality training becomes even more essential for these time-critical inventions in emergency situations.

AMPATH and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital recently partnered with the Surgical Society of Kenya to conduct the first Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course in Eldoret to train healthcare providers on the fundamentals of initial assessment and treatment of trauma patients. Sixteen MTRH doctors participated in the course, including consultants, registrars, and medical officers working in general surgery, orthopedic surgery, the casualty department, and OB/GYN. For these doctors, who are often the first to see patients after they arrive at MTRH following a traumatic injury, the knowledge and skills obtained in this course are invaluable.

The three-day ATLS course is the gold standard for trauma care worldwide and took place over July 18-20, 2018. In addition to didactic lessons, ATLS students participate in hands-on training stations where they learned essential skills, from interpreting radiologic findings to performing several life-saving surgical procedures. On the final day, students must pass a written exam and are given a realistic patient scenario, using live simulated patients. There, they must demonstrate the ability to proficiently assess the patient, intervene on any life-threatening injuries, stabilize the patient, and ensure they are directed to definitive treatment.

 ATLS students practice trauma response skills at stations.

ATLS students practice trauma response skills at stations.

The ATLS course, developed by the American College of Surgeons, was brought to Kenya five years ago through a partnership between the Surgical Society of Kenya and the Kenyan Red Cross Society, with assistance from trauma surgery faculty at Indiana University. Since that time, courses have been held several times a year in Nairobi, under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Ojuka, Country Course Director for Kenya.

This course represents the first official ATLS course in Kenya taught outside of Nairobi. It was made possible through the vision and efforts of Dr. Connie Keung, AMPATH surgical team leader, and Dr. Seno Saruni, a surgeon at MTRH and ATLS Instructor. As they did five years ago in Nairobi, Dr. Clark Simons and Dr. Michelle Laughlin led a team from Indiana University to help conduct the course. 

 Kyle Carpenter at Day 3 of ATLS training where students are tested in trauma simulations. 

Kyle Carpenter at Day 3 of ATLS training where students are tested in trauma simulations. 

The next ATLS course in Eldoret is currently scheduled for January 2019. As more Kenyan doctors successfully complete the course and go on to become instructors themselves, Drs. Keung and Saruni hope that these courses will become a more regular offering. Expanding ATLS instruction to providers throughout Kenya will be a significant step in improving the care of those who suffer from traumatic injuries.

 

Dr. Kyle Carpenter is a Fulbright Scholar and Global Health Fellow with the Indiana University School of Medicine's Department of Surgery and spending one-year in Eldoret, Kenya.