Mental preparation key in paediatric training

Mental preparation key in paediatric training

The Israeli Air Force’s 669 SAR Unit has practised providing medical aid for children and babies in the Advanced Simulation Center.

Image: IAF / Hagar Amibar

At the end of 2015, the Israeli Air Force’s 669 SAR Unit practised providing medical aid for children and babies in the Advanced Simulation Center, as doctors and paramedics trained for the technical – and mental – challenges in providing treatment in complicated scenarios.

“Aside from the technical side, when one treats a child there are sometimes mental blockages,” explained Col Erez, an IAF medical officer. “Most of us are parents and the sight of an injured child raises emotions in the doctor. One of our goals for this workshop, other than educating and technical skill, is mentally preparing the soldiers for similar situations.”

Although their specialisation and missions include rescuing and evacuating injured soldiers in combat fields and aid for children and babies is less common, this scenario is considered relevant to the unit, which is also committed to non-military emergency situations. In addition, this type of exercise, which requires teamwork in a crowded cubicle, prepares the 669 operators for combat situations for which they are trained.

“The doctors and paramedics in the unit are qualified to care for children, but we have decided to raise the standard of care for children and babies. Even though this is a rare event, it could occur at any moment,” shared Maj. Eliad, commander of the evacuation division. “By the end of 2016, the doctors and paramedics in the unit will conclude this course according to the new work programme. The course includes lectures, specific training stations and multiple simulations that simulate real scenarios. We are leaving here with a lot of knowledge in the field of medical care for children.”

In the Advanced Center for Medical Simulation, located in the Sheba Medical Center, the doctors, paramedics and soldiers practised helping children and babies injured in minefields, car accidents or rocket attacks, in addition to training for the opening of breathing airways and chest injury. In order to simulate a realistic scenario, the medical teams assembled in a crowded field cubicle the same size as the cabin of the Black Hawk helicopters they would use in real life. The patients were

advanced mannequins from the Israel Center for Medical Simulation in Tel Hashomer.

“Just as pilots train in simulation flights, our simulators are the advanced dolls. The dolls react according to the treatment and are designed to simulate real scenarios,” commented professor Itai Shavit, manager of the Children Emergency Room in Rambam Hospital and reservist in 669 Unit, who initiated the training. “In addition, the treatment rooms in the Center for Medical Simulation are filmed from multiple angles ... There is no doubt that you can see the improvement in the medical standards for children in the unit after this type of training, which is what is beautiful about Israel – the citizen is the soldier and the soldier is the citizen.”