According to Roxolana Horbowyj, M.D., a general/critical care surgeon and WFUMA-US president, the initiative is part of the WFUMA World Ukrainian Physician Network, which was established in 2006. The Network aims to improve access to healthcare services in rural Ukraine and to promote quality healthcare delivery through better local, national and international opportunities throughout Ukraine via education, communications and collaborations.
The visiting surgeons represent rural and urban, clinical and academic, adult and pediatric ortho-trauma surgeons from eastern and western Ukraine and were selected from sites participating WFUMA World Ukrainian Physician Network. The surgeons are also the first physicians from Ukraine to become RTTDC-trained, ATLS providers. This event was conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Ukrainian and was intended to facilitate ATLS promulgation in Ukraine in timely support of major healthcare transitions there.
The RTTDC was developed by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, which included two WVU faculty members among its original founders. This course is designed for trauma center outreach to rural healthcare providers and focuses on how to identify and stabilize injuries, as well as when to transfer patients to trauma centers to optimize rural trauma patient care.
The American College of Surgeons ATLS course is a concise, clinical learning tool that provides a systematic approach to the early care of trauma patients. ATLS emphasizes key skills for optimal trauma patient care and provides a common language and process that contribute to saving the critically injured. ATLS has been adopted in more than 60 countries.
Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center staff conducted the RTTDC at Preston Memorial Hospital in Kingwood for hospital staff and the Ukrainian surgeons. ATLS training was provided in the WVU Health Sciences Center and Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Alison Wilson, M.D., director of the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center, said the trauma team eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Ukrainian surgeons and the opportunity to share knowledge with international colleagues.
“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the World Ukrainian Physician Network. Our purpose is to teach ATLS to this initial group of surgeons with their nation’s hope of providing the first instructors for their home country and the ultimate goal of initiating ATLS in Ukraine,” Dr. Wilson said. “This is the first in a series of steps to bring this program to a new part of the world.”
Following the visit, the application of the All-Ukrainian Association of Orthopaedic Traumatologists’ to the American College of Surgeons’ for establishing ATLS in Ukraine was accepted. Plans are also underway to introduce RTTDC to Ukraine.
The Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S. supported this effort with acknowledgement. The International Charitable Fund Ukraine 3000, a WFUMA partner through its International Hospital-to-Hospital Program, helped with communications and travel preparations in Ukraine. The American Council provided equipment for simultaneous translation. The Arlington –Ivano-Frankivsk Sister City Committee facilitated transport and touring in Washington, D.C., before and after WVU activities.
Plans are currently in the works to bring a second group of surgeons to WVU from Ukraine early next year.
Top photo – The staff of WVU Healthcare’s Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center poses for a photo with the Ukrainian surgeons visiting WVU outside Ruby Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Bottom photo – Alison Wilson, M.D., director of the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center (third from left), demonstrates to the entire ATLS class how to perform an emergency cricothyroidotomy, a live saving technique used when a patient cannot be intubated with standard means, in the Simulation Center inside the WVU Health Sciences Center.
For more information: Angela Jones-Knopf, News Service Coordinator, 304-293-7087