Emergency Training Saves the Day

May 24, 2010 5:45 AM

Keith Brannon

Just a day after a team from Franklin Medical Center went to the Tulane School of Medicine to learn how to better respond to medical emergencies, they got an unexpected chance to put their lessons into action.


Nurse Amy Bassett, left, Franklin Medical Center Emergency Department ICU director, and Dr. Jeffrey Combetta, right, family medicine physician, use a robotic patient simulator during emergency medical training at Tulane. (Photo by Keith Brannon)

Emergency room doctors and nurses came from Franklin Parish, located in northeast Louisiana, to train using specialized robotic patient simulators to practice emergency labor and delivery techniques. A day later, they faced the same real-life situation when a patient walked into the hospital about to give birth.  

Typically, the hospital works to stabilize women in labor for transport to another facility, but this patient and her baby weren't going to wait.  

"She was in active labor. There was no way I was going to transfer her," said emergency physician Dr. Jeffrey Combetta. "We were ready for anything, and we were ready because we had just come from the simulator."  

The woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Travis.  

More than 18 doctors and nurses from Franklin Medical Center took part in a series of two-day intensive training sessions at the Tulane Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Team Training.   

The Tulane Rural Emergency Department Training Program uses lifelike robotic patients to simulate emergency situations that rural doctors may not see on a regular basis. Teams work through high-stress scenarios such as reviving a patient after a heart attack, responding to trauma injuries or giving life-saving treatment to babies who've stopped breathing. They also practice obstetric and postpartum emergencies.  

Blake Kramer, administrator of Franklin Medical Center, says that while the hospital ER may not see many cases of labor complications or emergency caesarean sections, it is important that they be able to respond to those cases should one come in the door. "The extraordinary occurrences are the ones that require the most preparation," Kramer says.  

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000