Medical Emergencies - It could be you too!.

Monday, July 07, 2014 | Halema Khatun

Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber’s new and improved Medical Emergencies Major Event sponsored by Optident, attracted dental teams from across Yorkshire.   A ‘refresher ’ for many dental professionals and essential training for any newcomers, the course regularly sees whole dental practices attending together to support each other and understand more clearly their individual roles should a medical emergency ever occur.  Guidance and advice on the latest clinical practice standards is given by a specially chosen team of speakers experienced in the management of medical emergencies. Above all, there’s the invaluable chance to brush up on knowledge and skills through mock-up scenarios based on real life medical emergencies.

Esther McDerra, Major Events Dental Tutor gave a warm welcome and introduced new trainer, Mr Ian Henry, Registrar in Oral Surgery at Pinderfields General Hospital.

“We are delighted to have Mr Ian Henry on board with our team of medical emergency speakers.   We are also saying goodbye Terry McDerra after seven years. Terry has been a valued AED (Automated External Defibrillator) trainer with our Medical Emergency courses, sharing his expertise and knowledge.  We would like to thank him and wish him all the best."

Dr Kate Taylor and Dr Julie Burke, lecturers and specialists in Oral surgery at the Leeds Dental Institute reminded everyone that medical emergencies in a dental surgery are rare but do happen. Dr Kate Taylor sadly recounted some fatal cases, emphasising the need for training and preparation for all members of the dental team.  She encouraged delegates to make personal contributions.

“All the emergencies we’ll go through today are rare but it’s very useful to discuss different experiences as it helps us all prepare better if that medical emergency situation happens in our working environment.   We’ve our own stories which we’ll be sharing with you today, but please share yours too and if there is a particular issue or aspect you’ve dealt with then let us know so we can all learn from it.”

One delegate immediately shared the fact that a receptionist at her dental practice had recently suffered an asthma attack and how this had taken the dental team by surprise as they weren’t aware of her medical history.   Soon other delegates and trainers were exchanging experiences on how they managed and dealt with common medical emergencies such as angina, anaphylaxis, epilepsy and diabetes to name but a few.

The day began with an informal  quiz and then a lecture based on the current Resuscitation Council Guidelines of which each delegate was given a copy. The remainder of the day, delegates split into different rooms taking part in a series of mocked-up medical emergency scenarios.  Thinking on their toes and drawing on their knowledge, they practised and refreshed their skills on simulated patients, with an expert on hand guiding them, asking probing questions and giving feedback.   From basic life support, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), a child choking or someone suffering from a heart attack, the groups were put through their paces.  They were reminded of how to make a risk assessment and the ABCDE approach; Airway – is the airway obstructed? Breathing – look, listen and feel for the general signs of respiratory distress, Circulation – look at the colour of a patient’s hands and fingers and assess the limb temperature by feeling he patient’s hands, Disability and Exposure.    

This hands-on course brought delegates together and showed how all members of staff should understand their role and practise together regularly in a simulated emergency so they know exactly what to do. Maintaining knowledge and competence in this area is an important part of all dental professionals’ continuing professional development.

Speaking afterwards, Peter Harper who runs a practice from Dalton, Huddersfield, said:  

“This course is ideal training. The guidelines are constantly changing – such as the number of compressions when giving CPR so you need to coming on it each year. We all come together as a dental practice and throughout the year we regularly meet together to go through what we need to do in the event of a medical emergency. “
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