Emergency room doctors experience the other side of medical emer - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Emergency room doctors experience the other side of medical emergencies

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MADISON (WKOW)-- They both save lives, but do so in very different ways. From the moment an accident happens, firefighters and emergency responders are on scene helping victims in the field. Meanwhile, emergency room physicians are waiting at the hospital for patients to arrive.

The two professions have worked side by side for years with very little knowledge of how the other side works. The Madison Fire Department decided to bridge that gap by giving medical residents at UW-Madison behind the scenes training in a handful of emergency situations.

The "Doc Ops" program, now in its 4th year, is a spinoff from the Madison Fire Department's "Fire Ops 101" program. In that program  elected officials get the chance to experience firefighting firsthand. The goal is to give them the experience they need to make informed decisions about legislation that would affect firefighters. Eventually someone had the idea of creating a similar program to teach medical students.

"This is actually their first year that they're just starting within the past several weeks," Madison Fire Department Associate Medical Director Michael Mancera says.

"We're trying to get them very early exposure to some of this pre-hospital environment so they can get a good learning experience out of it."

The program featured 12 first year residents from UW-Madison. Most of the doctors have dealt with patients who have experienced emergency situations like fires and car accidents, but they really don't have a lot of information about what happens before they get to the emergency room. With this training they now know exactly what happens before the patient gets to their door.

"Patients come in and they're fully extracted from buildings and cars and we really don't know what goes on before that," 1st year resident Christopher Ford says. "This training really opens our eyes to how much medical care is given to patients in the field."

"We work with these guys all the time in the emergency department. It's great for us to get out of our environment and get to see what they do on a day to day basis," 1st year medical resident Brian Jennett says. "It just helps us work better together."

The training consisted of five stations at the Madison Fire Department's training center. The stations included a car extraction, a search and rescue mission in a smoke-filled building and three other scenarios firefighters often experience in the field. Organizers of the program say they plan to keep it going for many years to come.

"The experiences are just so beneficial to these students," Mancera says. "We hope to keep this going for future med students."


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MADISON (WKOW)-- They both save lives, but do so in very different ways. From the moment an accident happens, firefighters and emergency responders are on scene helping victims in the field. Meanwhile, emergency room physicians are waiting at the hospital for patients to arrive.

The two professions have worked side by side for years with very little knowledge of how the other side works. The Madison Fire Department decided to bridge that gap by giving medical residents at UW-Madison behind the scenes training in a handful of emergency situations. From car accidents to burning buildings, these doctors suited up and lived the life of a firefighter for one day. In the end, they go back to their respective hospitals with a new found appreciation for emergency responders.

Tonight at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Gordon Severson goes behind the scenes with these doctors as they experience the other side of emergency medical care.



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