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Early in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health (MoH) implemented policy reform to allow for pre-hospital whole blood transfusion (pWBT). Team Rubicon (TR) worked with a multinational group of experts to disseminate training that accelerated the implementation of pWBT across the country.
TR utilized an assess, align, and act (A3) approach to drive the pWBT implementation. TR established relationships with Ukrainian providers to understand current needs, restrictions, and protocols for pWBT. TR aligned pWBT advocacy efforts, working with the disaster medicine program at Ivano-Frankivsk Medical National University to create a local lead advocate. Existing and novel coordination mechanisms were used to unite and inform MoH, World Health Organization, Non-Governmental Organizations, and local health systems. Finally, TR coordinated a multispecialty, multi-national team of healthcare providers who developed and delivered a training package in alignment with national guidelines utilizing a combination of didactics, videos, and demonstrations. From August to October of 2022, TR conducted pWBT trainings across Ukraine. Pre- and post-surveys were utilized to determine comfort with pWBT and usefulness of the training.
TR emerged as the point of reference for pWBT in Ukraine. 109 individuals from over 14 organizations were trained. Participants included 69 physicians, 23 paramedics, 7 nurses, and 10 other professionals. 95% of those surveyed had not received prior pWBT training. Participants reported increased comfort levels, with average pre- and post-course comfort scores of 1.7 and 3.2 (4=very comfortable), respectively. The majority of participants found the training useful (average score of 3.8, 4=very useful). Feedback demonstrated high satisfaction ratings and an increased awareness of the regulatory changes.
TR utilized the A3 model to drive a coalition that supported policy reform and trauma system improvements in Ukraine. TR’s ability to leverage international medical expertise, work collaboratively with MoH, and provide material resources supported local implementation of pWBT.
As of October 2022, the civilian casualty count of the invasion of Ukraine is reported to be 16,295, with actual figures believed to be considerably higher. As explosive trauma continues to terrorize populations, frontline medical personnel are faced with escalating resource constraints including transport, imaging modalities, and electricity. Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is considered the gold standard in acute trauma evaluation, but very few hospitals or pre-hospital medics have access to or training in POCUS.
In collaboration with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Global Health Program at Butterfly Network, Team Rubicon developed and conducted 64 practical trauma trainings and donated 50 Butterfly iQ+ portable ultrasound devices in Ukraine between August and October, 2022. Of these trainings, 19 specifically focused on the use of POCUS for trauma. Pre- and post-surveys were deployed to determine demographics, comfort level with POCUS for trauma care, and usefulness of the course.
In total, 149 individuals were trained in POCUS for trauma. Of these, 130 were physicians, 15 were paramedics, three were RNs, and one was a pharmacist. Only 14.8% of these clinicians self-reported any previous POCUS training. All participants reported an increase in comfort level, with an average pre- and post-course comfort scores of 1.9 and 3.3 (4=very comfortable), respectively. General satisfaction with the training was high (average score of 9.8/10). Qualitative feedback commended the quality and novelty of this training, requested further examples of pathology, and endorsed more POCUS trainings, generally. The most critical lesson learned was the need to re-orient training around the foundations of POCUS given low levels of experience and training.
Access and training in POCUS for trauma is critical for resource-constrained medical personnel operating in conflict-affected communities. A one-day POCUS practicum-oriented course is feasible to support awareness and proficiency.
In March 2022, Team Rubicon deployed an EMT Type 1 mobile team to provide medical care for internally displaced people in Ukraine. Regional medical facilities and universities identified a need for training programs to prepare for the expected increase in wartime casualties.
Deployed medical teams researched and compiled initial course content. Presentations were prepared and conducted with the assistance of Ukrainian translators. The curriculum was expanded to include whole blood transfusion and point of care ultrasound. After the prioritization of needs by the MOH, Team Rubicon deployed a seven-member team to conduct training in 16 cities over two months. They provided instruction in whole blood transfusion, hemorrhage control, blast injuries, prehospital triage, shock management, point of care ultrasound, and treatment of chemical exposures. Surveys were conducted pre- and post-training to assess the usefulness of the training provided.
In two months, a total of 1549 unique individuals were trained. The participants included 769 physicians, 244 nurses, 299 paramedics, 83 hospital administrators, and 154 additional professionals. They included 614 males and 935 females. The number of participants in each course included: 477 for hemorrhage control, 564 for treatment of chemical exposures, 483 for blast injury and field trauma, 412 for pre-hospital and triage training, 135 for point-of-care ultrasound, and 154 for whole blood transfusion.
With the assistance of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, an NGO was able to conduct 64 sessions training 1549 individuals. This experience demonstrates the ability to create a robust educational platform to fulfill the medical needs of a community affected by warfare.
Mass vaccination campaigns have been used effectively to limit the impact of communicable disease on public health. However, the scale of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign is unprecedented. Mass vaccination sites consolidate resources and experience into a single entity and are essential to achieving community (“herd”) immunity rapidly, efficiently, and equitably. Health care systems, local and regional public health entities, emergency medical services, and private organizations can rapidly come together to solve problems and achieve success. As medical directors at several mass vaccination sites across the United States, we describe key mass vaccination site concepts, including site selection, operational models, patient flow, inventory management, staffing, technology, reporting, medical oversight, communication, and equity. Lessons learned from experience operating a diverse group of mass vaccination sites will help inform not only sites operating during the current pandemic, but also may serve as a blueprint for future outbreaks of highly infectious communicable disease.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization broadly categorize mass gathering events as high risk for amplification of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread in a community due to the nature of respiratory diseases and the transmission dynamics. However, various measures and modifications can be put in place to limit or reduce the risk of further spread of COVID-19 for the mass gathering. During this pandemic, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security produced a risk assessment and mitigation tool for decision-makers to assess SARS-CoV-2 transmission risks that may arise as organizations and businesses hold mass gatherings or increase business operations: The JHU Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19 (Toolkit). This article describes the deployment of a data-informed, risk-reduction strategy that protects local communities, preserves local health-care capacity, and supports democratic processes through the safe execution of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. The successful use of the Toolkit and the lessons learned from this experience are applicable in a wide range of public health settings, including school reopening, expansion of public services, and even resumption of health-care delivery.
In this manuscript, we discuss the implementation and deployment of mobile integrated health and community paramedicine (MIH/CP) testing sites to provide screening, testing, and community outreach during the first months of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the metropolitan region of Charlotte, North Carolina. This program addresses the need for an agile testing strategy during the current pandemic. We disclose the number of patients evaluated as “persons under investigation” and the proportion with positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) results from these sites. We describe how the programs were applied to patient care and include considerations on how additional staffing, scalability, and flexibility of these services may be applied to future patient and health care crises.
This is a descriptive report of the implementation of MIH/CP test sites in our health care system’s early response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Retrospective data on the number of patients and their associated demographics are reported here as raw data. No statistical analysis was performed.
Between March 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020, our 6 MIH/CP test sites evaluated 4342 patients. Of these, 401 patients (9.2%) had positive test results, 62.8% of whom were women. The estimated duration of each patient encounter under investigation was 3 to 5 minutes. The paramedics were able to perform a brief history, specific physical examination, and screening for signs of hypoxemic respiratory failure. There were no cases of accidental exposure or failure of personal protective equipment for the MIH/CP paramedics.
In our health care system, we pivoted the traditional MIH/CP model to rapidly initiate remote drive-through testing for COVID-19 in pre-screened individuals. This model allowed us to test patients with suspected COVID-19 patients away from traditional health care sites and mitigate exposure to health care workers and other patients.
On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall as a category 5 hurricane on Great Abaco Island, Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian matched the “Labor Day” hurricane of 1935 as the strongest recorded Atlantic hurricane to make landfall with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles/h.1 At the request of the Government of the Bahamas, Team Rubicon activated a World Health Organization Type 1 Mobile Emergency Medical Team and responded to Great Abaco Island. The team provided medical care and reconnaissance of medical clinics on the island and surrounding cays…
Disability-related education is essential for disaster responders and critical care transporters to ensure positive patient outcomes. This pilot study evaluated the effect of an online educational intervention on disaster responders and critical care transporters’ knowledge of and feelings of self-efficacy about caring for individuals with developmental disabilities.
A 1-group, pretest-posttest, quasi-experimental design was used. A convenience sample of 33 disaster responders and critical care transporters participated.
Of the 33 participants, only 24% had received prior education on this topic, and 88% stated that such education would be beneficial to their care of patients. Nineteen participants completed both the pretest and posttest, and overall performance on knowledge items improved from 66% correct to 81% correct. Self-efficacy for caring for developmentally disabled individuals improved, with all 10 items showing a statistically significant improvement.
Online education is recommended to improve the knowledge and self-efficacy of disaster responders and critical care transporters who care for this vulnerable population after disasters and emergencies. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:677–681)
Fe is an essential nutrient for many bacteria, and Fe supplementation has been reported to affect the composition of the gut microbiota in both Fe-deficient and Fe-replete individuals outside pregnancy. This study examined whether the dose of Fe in pregnancy multivitamin supplements affects the overall composition of the gut microbiota in overweight and obese pregnant women in early pregnancy. Women participating in the SPRING study with a faecal sample obtained at 16 weeks’ gestation were included in this substudy. For each subject, the brand of multivitamin used was recorded. Faecal microbiome composition was assessed by 16S rRNA sequencing and analysed with the QIIME software suite. Dietary intake of Fe was assessed using a FFQ at 16 weeks’ gestation. Women were grouped as receiving low (<60 mg/d, n 94) or high (≥60 mg/d; n 65) Fe supplementation. The median supplementary Fe intake in the low group was 10 (interquartile range (IQR) 5–10) v. 60 (IQR 60–60) mg/d in the high group (P<0·001). Dietary Fe intake did not differ between the groups (10·0 (IQR 7·4–13·3) v. 9·8 (IQR 8·2–13·2) mg/d). Fe supplementation did not significantly affect the composition of the faecal microbiome at any taxonomic level. Network analysis showed that the gut microbiota in the low Fe supplementation group had a higher predominance of SCFA producers. Pregnancy multivitamin Fe content has a minor effect on the overall composition of the gut microbiota of overweight and obese pregnant women at 16 weeks’ gestation.
Disasters create major strain on energy infrastructure in affected communities. Advances in microgrid technology offer the potential to improve “off-grid” mobile disaster medical response capabilities beyond traditional diesel generation. The Carolinas Medical Center's mobile emergency medical unit (MED-1) Green Project (M1G) is a multi-phase project designed to demonstrate the benefits of integrating distributive generation (DG), high-efficiency batteries, and “smart” energy utilization in support of major out-of-hospital medical response operations.
Carolinas MED-1 is a mobile medical facility composed of a fleet of vehicles and trailers that provides comprehensive medical care capacities to support disaster response and special-event operations. The M1G project partnered with local energy companies to deploy energy analytics and an energy microgrid in support of mobile clinical operations for the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA). Energy use data recorded throughout the DNC were analyzed to create energy utilization models that integrate advanced battery technology, solar photovoltaic (PV), and energy conservation measures (ECM) to improve future disaster response operations.
The generators that supply power for MED-1 have a minimum loading ratio (MLR) of 30 kVA. This means that loads below 30 kW lead to diesel fuel consumption at the same rate as a 30 kW load. Data gathered from the two DNC training and support deployments showed the maximum load of MED-1 to be around 20 kW. This discrepancy in MLR versus actual load leads to significant energy waste. The lack of an energy storage system reduces generator efficiency and limits integration of alternative energy generation strategies. A storage system would also allow for alternative generation sources, such as PV, to be incorporated. Modeling with a 450 kWh battery bank and 13.5 kW PV array showed a 2-fold increase in potential deployment times using the same amount of fuel versus the current conventional system.
The M1G Project demonstrated that the incorporation of a microgrid energy management system and a modern battery system maximize the MED-1 generators’ output. Using a 450 kWh battery bank and 13.5 kW PV array, deployment operations time could be more than doubled before refueling. This marks a dramatic increase in patient care capabilities and has significant public health implications. The results highlight the value of smart-microgrid technology in developing energy independent mobile medical capabilities and expanding cost-effective, high-quality medical response.
McCahillPW, NosteEE, RossmanAJ, CallawayDW. Integration of Energy Analytics and Smart Energy Microgrid into Mobile Medicine Operations for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(6):1-8.
Modern health care and disaster response are inextricably linked to high volume, reliable, quality power. Disasters place major strain on energy infrastructure in affected communities. Advances in renewable energy and microgrid technology offer the potential to improve mobile disaster medical response capabilities. However, very little is known about the energy requirements of and alternative power sources in disaster response. A gap analysis of the energy components of modern disaster response reveals multiple deficiencies. The MED-1 Green Project has been executed as a multiphase project designed to identify energy utilization inefficiencies, decrease demands on diesel generators, and employ modern energy management strategies to expand operational independence. This approach, in turn, allows for longer deployments in potentially more austere environments and minimizes the unit's environmental footprint. The ultimate goal is to serve as a proof of concept for other mobile medical units to create strategies for energy independence. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1–8)
According to US military data, airway obstruction is the third leading cause of possibly preventable death in combat. In the absence of law enforcement-specific medical training, military experience has been translated to the law enforcement sector. The purpose of this study was to determine whether airway obstruction represents a significant cause of possibly preventable death in police officers, and whether current military combat lifesaver training programs might have prevented these fatalities.
De-identified, open-source US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Report Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) data for the years 1998-2007 were reviewed. Cases were included if officers were on duty at the time of fatal injury and died within one hour from time of wounding from penetrating face or neck trauma. After case identification, letters requesting autopsy reports were sent to the departments of victim officers. Reports were abstracted into a Microsoft Excel database.
During the study period, 42 of 533 victim officers met inclusion criteria. Departmental response rate was 85.7%. Autopsy reports were provided for 29 officers; 23 (54.8%) cases remained in the final analysis. All officers died from gunshot wounds. No coroner specifically identified airway obstruction as either a direct cause of death or contributing factor. Based upon autopsy findings, three of 341 officers possibly succumbed to airway trauma (0.9%; 95% CI, 0.0%-1.9%). Endotracheal intubation was the most common advanced airway management technique utilized during attempted resuscitation.
The limited LEOKA data suggests that acute airway obstruction secondary to penetrating trauma appears to be a rare cause of possibly preventable death in police officers. Based upon the nature of airway trauma, nasopharyngeal airways would not be expected to be an effective lifesaving intervention. This study highlights the requirement for a comprehensive mortality and “near miss” database for law enforcement officers.
FisherL, CallawayD, SztajnkrycerM. Incidence of Fatal Airway Obstruction in Police Officers Feloniously Killed in the Line of Duty: A 10-Year Retrospective Analysis. Prehosp Disaster Med.2013;28(5):1-5.
Disaster diplomacy is an evolving contemporary model that examines how disaster response strategies can facilitate cooperation between parties in conflict. The concept of disaster diplomacy has emerged during the past decade to address how disaster response can be leveraged to promote peace, facilitate communication, promote human rights, and strengthen intercommunity ties in the increasingly multipolar modern world. Historically, the concept has evolved through two camps, one that focuses on the interactions between national governments in conflict and another that emphasizes the grassroots movements that can promote change. The two divergent approaches can be reconciled and disaster diplomacy further matured by contextualizing the concept within the disaster cycle, a model well established within the disaster risk management community. In particular, access to available health care, especially for the most vulnerable populations, may need to be negotiated. As such, disaster response professionals, including emergency medicine specialists, can play an important role in the development and implementation of disaster diplomacy concepts.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:53–59)
Mobile health (mHealth) technology can play a critical role in improving disaster victim tracking, triage, patient care, facility management, and theater-wide decision-making.
To date, no disaster mHealth application provides responders with adequate capabilities to function in an austere environment.
The Operational Medicine Institute (OMI) conducted a qualitative trial of a modified version of the off-the-shelf application iChart at the Fond Parisien Disaster Rescue Camp during the large-scale response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The iChart mHealth system created a patient log of 617 unique entries used by on-the-ground medical providers and field hospital administrators to facilitate provider triage, improve provider handoffs, and track vulnerable populations such as unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, traumatic orthopedic injuries and specified infectious diseases.
The trial demonstrated that even a non-disaster specific application with significant programmatic limitations was an improvement over existing patient tracking and facility management systems. A unified electronic medical record and patient tracking system would add significant value to first responder capabilities in the disaster response setting.
Callaway DW, Peabody CR, Hoffman A, Cote E, Moulton S, Baez AA, Nathanson L. Disaster mobile health technology: lessons from Haiti. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(2):1-5.
Both fish oil (FO) and curcumin have potential as anti-tumour and anti-inflammatory agents. To further explore their combined effects on dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced colitis, C57BL/6 mice were randomised to four diets (2 × 2 design) differing in fatty acid content with or without curcumin supplementation (FO, FO+2 % curcumin, maize oil (control, MO) or MO+2 % curcumin). Mice were exposed to one or two cycles of DSS in the drinking-water to induce either acute or chronic intestinal inflammation, respectively. FO-fed mice exposed to the single-cycle DSS treatment exhibited the highest mortality (40 %, seventeen of forty-three) compared with MO with the lowest mortality (3 %, one of twenty-nine) (P = 0·0008). Addition of curcumin to MO increased (P = 0·003) mortality to 37 % compared with the control. Consistent with animal survival data, following the one- or two-cycle DSS treatment, both dietary FO and curcumin promoted mucosal injury/ulceration compared with MO. In contrast, compared with other diets, combined FO and curcumin feeding enhanced the resolution of chronic inflammation and suppressed (P < 0·05) a key inflammatory mediator, NF-κB, in the colon mucosa. Mucosal microarray analysis revealed that dietary FO, curcumin and FO plus curcumin combination differentially modulated the expression of genes induced by DSS treatment. These results suggest that dietary lipids and curcumin interact to regulate mucosal homeostasis and the resolution of chronic inflammation in the colon.
A terrorist attack on US schools no longer can be considered a Black Swan event. Mounting evidence suggests that extremist organizations actively are targeting US schools. Equally disturbing are data suggesting that schools, universities, and communities are unprepared for large-scale violence. The Operational Medicine Institute Conference on an Integrated Response to the Modern Urban Terrorist Threat revealed significant variations in the perceived threats and critical response gaps among emergency medical providers, law enforcement personnel, politicians, and security specialists. The participants recommended several steps to address these gaps in preparedness, training, responses, and recovery.