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Doctors and Paramedics Teach The Difficult Airway Course: EMS in South Korea


Michael Murphy, MD, has taught hundreds of sessions of the Difficult Airway Course: EMS in the U.S. But this past October, he taught the very first one in South Korea. And judging by the South Korean doctors' and paramedics' reaction to a course mainstay -- Murphy performing a live endoscopic tour of his own upper airway -- nothing was lost in translation.„

"The Korean professors, physicians and EMS providers embraced the program and appreciated its critical value in the provision of quality EMS," said Mark C. Henry, MD, professor and chairman of Stony Brook's Department of Emergency Medicine. "We are particularly encouraged by the enthusiasm of the emergency physicians who will take a leadership role in the strategy."„

About the Difficult Airway Course

Developed in 1996, the original Difficult Airway Course targeted emergency physicians and anesthesiologists. To date, more than 15,000 physicians and 3,300 EMS providers have been trained.

The course is designed to address the need for high quality education for EMS personnel to increase their success rates and reduce errors in prehospital endotracheal intubation, particularly with respect to RSI. The course includes a wide variety of learning activities, including presentations, skill sessions (with almost every airway device known to man), difficult airway algorithm review, case-based discussions, and simulation exercises.„

"The strength of The Difficult Airway Course strategy is its ability to give participants practical structure and process and then reinforce it over and over again using stimulating learning activities," said Colby Rowe, the course coordinator from Stony Brook University.

Introducing ETI to Korea„

In Korea, ALS programs are just beginning, and endotracheal intubation is used by only a limited number of EMS providers. To date, there are no known RSI programs for EMS personnel. Organizers hope this course will assist in quality development of advanced airway management throughout the country. The course development in Korea was a monumental effort that included translation of course textbooks, slides, handouts and airway cards. Communication during the instructor phase of the program was skillfully managed by several translators, including Tae Hoon Park, the managing director of Laerdal in South Korea.„

The Difficult Airway Course: EMS will be used to train EMS professors from more than 25 EMS colleges as Difficult Airway Course Faculty. These newly approved faculty members will then disseminate the program throughout South Korea through their respective colleges. A total of 13 participants completed the faculty phase of training in October. They then trained 24 providers. Additional courses were scheduled for December and March.

The course was held at the Cheju Halla-Stony Brook Emergency Medicine Center based at Cheju Halla College on Jeju Island, located off the southern tip of South Korea. The fields of emergency medicine and EMS are rapidly developing in Korea, and Cheju Halla College is playing a critical role as a facilitator of quality implementation.„

The emergency medicine center was established in April 2006 as a collaborative effort between Cheju Halla College and Stony Brook University, which is based in Long Island, N.Y. The facility features the very latest in high-tech simulation, microsimulation and skill-based labs, making it an ideal location for this "technology intensive" educational program.„

The international collaboration was designed to establish an ongoing exchange between the two educational institutions for the purpose of promoting excellence and development in EMS. The partnership has spearheaded a variety of initiatives, including organization of international conferences on trauma and EMS, establishment of such certification programs in Korea as ACLS and BLS, visiting professor programs, student exchange programs, curriculum evaluation and improvement, as well as multiple other innovative enterprises.„

Edward Stapleton, EMT-P,is an associate professor of emergency medicine and director of Prehospital Education at Stony Brook University, as well as co-chairman of the Cheju Halla Stony Brook Emergency Medicine Center in South Korea.„

Click herefor more on intubation.

Click herefor more on the Difficult Airway Course.


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