Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Healthcare team from UT heads to Poland to train Ukrainian physicians

A team of nurses and physicians from The University of Toledo (UT) have headed overseas to Poland to teach a pair of Advance Trauma Life Support classes. 

The classes will aid Ukrainian doctors and healthcare workers with better management of serious injuries on the battlefield. Once in Poland, the team will be joined by physicians from Missouri, Cyprus and the Netherlands. 

The project was developed by the American College of Surgeons and will be supported by Gaumard Scientific, a Florida-based company that will aid simulation equipment to training clinicians free of charge once shipped to Warsaw, Poland. 

The training that will be provided includes how to establish an open airway and initiate assisted breathing, addressing collapsed lungs and placing a central line. The courses will also heavily focus on how to triage injuries, rapidly assess a patient’s conditions and how many decisions on when to intervene.

The on-going war efforts have required assistance from nearly every healthcare professional in the surrounding areas of Ukraine. Having training with trauma care is particularly important and is something outside the expertise of many doctors. 

Cristina Alvarado, a registered nurse and director of immersive and simulation-based learning at UT, said the war has asked much more out of healthcare professions than anticipated. 

“You’re asking physicians who don’t typically specialize in trauma to start taking care of trauma patients and teach others to be prepared for it,’” Alvarado said.  “They desperately need this training. They’re living it.” 

Alvarado is enroute with the rest of the team to the Medical University of Warsaw where they’ll all be providing training to a group of Polish and Ukrainian physicians, who will be traveling from Bukovinian State Media University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. 

In addition to Alvarado, the team includes: Dr. Kristopher Brickman an emergency medicine specialist and director of the Global Health Program in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Kristin Calkins, a registered nurse and director of trauma services at the UT Medical Center, and Dr. Stephen Markowiak, a general surgeon at UTMC.

“The goal of this trip truly is to give them the knowledge, training, education and the tools to not only handle traumas better but teach others how to handle them better as well,” Alvarado said.

Among those who will participate in the training is Dr. Olena Korotun, a Ukrainian pediatrician and associate professor at Bukovinian State Medical University.  

“When it comes to me personally as a pediatrician and medical doctor, I want — I need — to be ready and confident to face trauma. It is an essential skill in my country today,” Korotun said. “Too many children have gone during this war already. We need to do all that is possible to not increase that number.”

Korotun and Alvarado had previously worked to put together virtual trainings that could be streamed live from the UT’s Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center to physicians in Chernivtsi. 

Dr. Stanislaw Stepkowski, a Warsaw native who is professor of medical microbiology and immunology at UT, and Dr. Ivan Kaspruk, an emergency medicine resident at UT who is originally from Ukraine, will also join the team to aid in translation.

Related Articles