As soon as the bomb went off, first responders were on the scene, triaging a woman with a severed leg and assessing the vitals of a man with a head injury. The patients were quickly loaded onto ambulances and taken to a nearby emergency room, where medical personnel diagnosed and treated the incoming traumas. The scene was part of the Intensive Surgical and Trauma Skills Course developed by Strategic Operations, Inc. (STOPS). Among the first responders were second-year students from RVUCOM’s Military Medicine Track.
Over the course of a week, the RVUCOM students – along with their counterparts from Touro University Nevada, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, and Western University of Health Sciences – participated in several Hyper-Realistic® Training simulations designed to prepare them for high-stress situations. Students performed cricothyroidotomies, deep wound packing, and combat application tourniquet placements at multiple emergency simulations, which included an active shooter scenario, an explosion, and a domestic violence incident. RVU’s Triage Research Team, made up of first-year students, was also on the scene to study the most efficient allocation of limited resources during disaster and emergency situations. In the operation room, student doctors honed their surgical skills by operating on the Cut Suit®, a human-worn body suit which simulates realistic trauma.
The large-scale, health care simulation event takes place every year at STOP’s facility in San Diego, California, where first responders, medical students, and other emergency personnel come together to practice complex procedures in a controlled environment. “Because of the physicians that come here and share their expertise, we can learn and perfect new skills to the highest aptitude that we can,” said Ryan Carney, OMS III, during an interview with STOPS. For Hannah Douglas, OMS III, Cut Suit Week was a thoroughly educational experience. “I had the opportunity to gain hands-on surgical, emergency, and anesthesiology exposure,” she said. “I went in thinking I was going to fall behind on studying for [my board examinations] and, instead, came away knowing I will be a better physician because of [the experience].”