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| Aug 26, 2016
In many places in rural Cambodia, emergency medical services work differently than they do in the U.S. Years of violence and destruction from the Khmer Rouge has taken a serious toll on this country’s development. Instead of an ambulance quickly arriving at the site of an accident and providing care, emergency vehicles may show up under-equipped and responders may not have the training they need to save the victim’s life - triage, how to treat patients at the scene of an accident, or even how to safely administer CPR. The need is urgent - roads are developing quickly, putting even greater strain on a system that is already struggling to recover.
Medical Teams International has a solution for this growing complication in Cambodia. In several provinces, we have taken action to improve emergency medical services, or put services into place where there were none. To do this, we are training people at all levels: doctors, nurses, physicians and first responders. We're also helping provide equipment and technical support in some areas. This program is providing education to improve the quality of medical care in emergency situations.
Emergency training in action: Dr. Tam
Dr. Tam is a doctor in Cambodia and an inspiring example of how this training changes lives in the hands of local medical staff. With the provided training, Tam says he feels “refreshed” and is now confident in emergency situations. He learned how to assign degrees of urgency of the wounded or ill when there are a large number of patients, how to perform patient assessment, how to do CPR as well as learning how to treat a patient at the scene of an accident. Tam says his training “fills the gap” in what Cambodian doctors and nurses know to do, and he is immensely happy about what he has learned. During the training, he was one of Medical Teams International’s best students and is now training other doctors in the hospital where he works.
Before, medical responders wouldn’t have known what to do. They would have thrown the patient into the back of the vehicle and transported them to the hospital, but with his training, Dr. Tam knew what to do.
Tam’s training is already saving lives. Not long ago, Dr. Tam arrived at the scene of a car accident where one person was severely injured. Before, medical responders wouldn’t have known what to do. They would have thrown the patient into the back of the vehicle and transported them to the hospital, but with his training, Dr. Tam knew what to do. This time, he was confident about his actions. He performed a rapid assessment on the bleeding and unconscious patient and was able to stabilize him. Tam then transported the patient to a hospital, monitoring his condition along the way. Upon arrival, Tam’s staff hooked the patient up to an IV to supply medicine, before the patient was rushed to emergency surgery.
Reflecting on his training, before and after, Tam said, “Without MTI, those patients die on the scene. Because of this knowledge, the ability to save lives is increasing.” With his training, Dr. Tam Harklang is giving other first responders in Cambodia the tools to save lives.