First Responders Train at Rocky Vista University’s Healthcare Simulation Center

FFPD first responders load a standardized patient into the ambulance.

The Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) hosted by Rocky Vista University (RVU) on October 15th was both a success and the first of its kind. First responders with Franktown Fire Protection District were not only able to practice and learn new skills in the field and in the ambulance, but also in the newly renovated RVU Healthcare Simulation Center (HSC).

From the beginning, the simulation endeavored to be as realistic as possible with the first responders arriving on the scene of a “gas explosion.” They pulled up in an ambulance to a grassy field located on RVU’s Parker campus and immediately began treating patients. Injuries included a broken femur which required a tourniquet and bleeding management; a heart attack; and a patient with abdominal trauma who required a laparotomy.

Dr. Susan Carter assesses a patient in the HSC’s trauma bay.

After treating patients in the field, the responders transported the injured to the HSC. There, they also participated in surgical simulations using the Cut Suit®, a human-worn body suit that contains battery-operated, blood-filled vessels and organs that accurately replicate the look and feel of actual intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic contents.  The HSC “has ambulance access and realistic ER trauma bays and operating rooms to allow for this comprehensive and realistic patient experience,” said Susan Carter, MD, FACOG, Director of the Office of Simulation in Medicine and Surgery (SIMS), which operates the HSC.

Other techniques which first responders were introduced to include a cricothyrotomy (an incision in the neck to establish an airway), needle decompression, and “IV arm” task trainers to practice drawing blood. In the multi-patient Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, manikins were also set up to simulate low blood pressure, vomiting, and obstructions in the mouth and throat. The simulation also allowed the team to practice their communications, leadership skills, team work, and knowledge of procedures while assessing patients and during transport.

First responders assist Dr. Carter in a laparotomy.

This was the first large-scale simulation hosted at RVU after the remodel of the HSC and its success shows the value in and mutual benefits of an expanded healthcare simulation experience. Local partners have another avenue for training where they can learn new skills and RVU students and faculty can further strengthen their knowledge of surgical techniques. 

To see more photos from the simulation, please visit our Facebook page here.”  

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