How physicians use VR to train for emergency care

From Multi-Briefs:

Recreating the sights and sounds of a trauma bay is a challenge for doctors in training. Without witnessing it firsthand, residents may have trouble fully understanding what treating a trauma patient can entail.

To introduce residents to the experience, some schools are turning to virtual reality technology to fill the gap between the classroom and the emergency department.

Using VR, residents have the opportunity to play a variety of roles and learn each team member’s responsibility during a case. Residents are able to view the scenario from different perspectives — the doctor standing next to the patient, someone standing at the end of the gurney, the nurse or medical technician — to get a glimpse of a real-world situation.

“The goal eventually is to have hundreds of patients to teach different scenarios, like, ‘This is what a gunshot victim looks like,’ ‘This is what a stabbing looks like,’ ‘This is what a car accident looks like,'” Dr. Thanh Nguyen, a trauma services physician at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, told The Associated Press.

People will die without access to healthcare

From The Hill:

I served as an emergency physician for 10 years. Here’s what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt:

First, thousands of Americans die because they don’t have access to health care. That’s a fact.  I have seen this far too many times. Just one example is the 55-year-old woman who came into my ER with vaginal bleeding. Because she didn’t have health insurance, she never had a pap smear.  It turned out she had advanced cervical cancer, and she died five months later. She died because she didn’t have access to healthcare.

Second, as a civilized society, our standard has to be higher than whether or not someone died.  Being forced to the edge of death because you don’t have access to healthcare is indecent and inhumane.  I have seen countless patients in my ER because they couldn’t afford Lasix, a medicine that prevents fluid retention in people with congestive heart failure.  They were literally drowning in their own bodily fluids.  As a matter of policy, do we really want to say that is acceptable?

Third, it is degrading and offensive – and just plain wrong – to say that some groups of people, just because they are not wealthy, put a lower value on their own lives and health.  Every ER doctor will tell you about patients with a history of a mild stroke who stopped taking their Coumadin because they couldn’t afford it.  Many of them ended up in ERs after having a larger stroke, often paralyzed for life.  How can anyone suggest they deliberately chose that path because they didn’t care about their health?

Finally, it’s simply false that ERs are an acceptable or cost efficient way of providing primary healthcare – that is not their intended purpose. Anyone who has ever spent time in an ER as either a patient or a relative of a patient knows that. If your only option for receiving healthcare requires you to wait for hours while surrounded by people in cardiac arrest or victims of automobile accidents and gunshot wounds, you’ll do what most people without health coverage do: forego care until there truly is an emergency. And many of those people will die because they didn’t get the care when they needed it.

Surgeons on board with teaching public to stop bleeding in emergencies

From Reuters:

Just as many regular people have already learned CPR, members of the public can and should learn techniques to stop bleeding after mass-shooting events or everyday injuries, a survey of U.S. surgeons concludes.

“It’s a simple skill, which if you don’t have it, could lead to someone bleeding significantly and potentially dying,” said lead study author Lenworth Jacobs, director of the Hartford Hospital Trauma Institute in Connecticut.

“Our goal is to inform and empower the public because that first line of defense can really make a difference,” he told Reuters Health. “If someone drops in front of you, you want to feel like you can save a life.”

Jacobs and his colleagues tested their 15-minute bleeding control course, called B-Con, at a national meeting of surgeons in October 2016 by teaching 341 attendees techniques for stopping bleeding just as members of the public would be trained.

Results of largest trial of suicide intervention in emergency departments ever conducted in US

From PLoS:

The NIMH issued a press release about the publication in JAMA Psychiatry of results of the ED-SAFE Study, the largest suicide intervention trial ever conducted in emergency departments (ED) in US.


“We expect that EDs are capable of helping individuals at risk for suicide attempts. Earlier ED-SAFE study findings showed that brief universal screening could improve detection of more individuals at risk,”, said Jane Pearson, Ph.D., chair of the Suicide Research Consortium at the NIMH. “These recent findings show that if ED care also includes further assessment, safety planning, and telephone-based support after discharge, there is a significant reduction in later suicide attempts among adults.”

“We were happy that we were able to find these results,” said lead author Ivan Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. “We would like to have had an even stronger effect, but the fact that we were able to impact attempts with this population and with a relatively limited intervention is encouraging.”