The STARS Medical Education Unit rolled into town in late January to provide some hands on training for the Fernie Ski Patrol.
I hail from New Zealand, working as a Ski Patroller at Mt Ruapehu during the New Zealand winter, and jumped at the chance to be involved in such unique and advanced training aboard the big red bus.
Staffed by Dave Allison (EMT-P) and Alexis Mageau (RN), the STARS bus houses a very clever doll called Stan. Stan is a high fidelity training mannequin – his heart beats, be breathes, and he speaks! He then ceases breathing and speaking as various medical and traumatic emergencies afflict him.
On Patrol we are equipped and ready to respond to just about any emergency, but fortunately do not come across life threatening situations too often. Stan gave us an opportunity to hone our skills in a realistic but low-stress environment. Manipulated by Dave from a separate computer room, Stan presented with a series of ailments while Alexis facilitated teams of four patrollers to bring him back to health.
Under my team’s watch, Stan presented with a severe allergic reaction to peanut butter, as a free-ski whiz who had rag-dolled several hundred metres through rocks, and as a gentleman going into cardiac arrest. We administered oxygen and an epi-pen, dealt with multiple broken bones and battered organs, and shocked him with the on-board AED (defibrillator). When we treated him appropriately, Stan improved. If we missed things, his condition worsened.
Being able to communicate with the patient lent this training a realistic and relevant edge that most training scenarios struggle to achieve. It also gave us a chance to put our own teamwork and communication to the test – something critical in serious situations.
A big thanks to the STARS training team for their time and energy, it was much appreciated and a very worthwhile weekend for the Fernie Ski Patrol.