Thursday, October 30, 2014

Proof that Sim and CPR Saves Lives

The Sim Team at Drexel received a kind thank message from one of our former Emergency Medicine Residents, Lauren Donnelly, MD.  Lauren now works for Temecula Valley Hospital in Temecula, CA and recently helped save the life of a 9 year old boy who suffered cardiac arrest after being electrocuted on October 4th, 2014.  

Elijah Belden was playing at his birthday party when he grabbed a metal pole in his backyard that became electrified from decorative lights. He instantly fell to the ground and became unresponsive.  Luckily, a family friend started CPR right away and paramedics were on the scene within five minutes. Elijah was brought to Temecula Valley Hospital where Lauren took what she learned in the Drexel Sim Lab and put it to work to save Elijah's life.  

Lauren was the only medical doctor on staff that night and was given little notice that Elijah was on is way in to the ER.  He arrived in V-fib arrest and after being shocked one time he converted to NSR.  However, due to eating lots of pizza and soda at the party he instantly began to vomit and Lauren was unable to protect his airway and decided to start intubation.  

According to Lauren, this when the simulation practice paid off for her.  The nurse working that night was asking "what intubation meds do you want?" and "what size ET tube do you want?"  

For a brief moment Lauren froze, she realized he was a little too big for the Broselow tape, but too small to be treated as an adult. Using a peds quick reference card to quickly look up doses, she gave him Roc and Etomidate.  Lauren remembered the formula for ETT from using it constantly in the sim lab at Drexel and set up a 6.5 sized ETT tube.

Right as she was about to intubate him he had some decerebrate posturing.  Luckily, the intubation went smoothly and the medical team immediately started cooling him.  Lauren started him on a Versed drip and had to keep re-paralyzing him with Roc to prevent shivering.  A helicopter then took Elijah to a local Children's hospital where he remained in a coma for eight days. 

Finally, a day before his 10th birthday he awoke with out deficits and began the road to full recovery.  Elijah was released from the hospital on October 20th, two days later he came with his family to the Temecula Valley Hospital to thank Lauren and the rest of the medical team for their life saving work.

Lauren was able to attend Elijah first little league game after the accident and witnessed him score four runs that contributed to a 14-1 win for his team.  This was not only a victory on the field but a victory for Elijah and his family, the medical team at Temecula Valley Hospital, and for the Drexel Sim Team.   

Lauren sent a thank you message to members of the Drexel Sim Team expressing how much of an impact her time practicing codes in the Sim Lab made on her professional career. 

"I couldn't have done any of this as quickly and confidently if it hadn't been for the mega-codes and mock pediatric codes we did over and over in sim lab. Thank you for making me a better doctor and helping me save this kid's life!"- Lauren Donnelly, MD
That message from Lauren and the successful recovery of Elijah is a true estimate of how much of an impact simulation makes on medical education.  Without the hours in the sim lab this story may have ended very differently.  

To learn more about Elijah's story please visit his Facebook page Pray For Elijah Belden

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