U.S. medical practitioners do emergency medicine residency training at the K.H.M.H.

Prior to the press conference by the Ministry of Health on the reports of Influenza A H-one N-one, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital held an informal press briefing to introduce a new two-year residency program for emergency medicine and response. The initiative, called the Belize Emergency Development Program, has been years in the making and is a partnership between the national referral hospital, the Ministry of Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Today, the media met a team of thirteen doctors, nurses and paramedics from the medical college who will be training along with the local staff at the K.H.M.H. The inaugural visit is being led by Doctor Mark Bruce, who says that team effort is critical in emergency medicine response.

Dr. Mark Bruce, Team Leader

Mark Bruce

“The focus of this is elevating the status of the specialty of emergency medicine and we have identified many of the A&E Physicians that are passionate about this also. They have been engaged for the last two week in training that has included didactics lectures in which they have participated and that they have presented cases and then we talked about those cases in lectures.  In addition to that, each one of our faculty has worked alongside their counterparts: the paramedics at birth, the A&E nurses and the A&E doctors. We’ve worked with them and they are assigned shifts; been a resource to them, answered questions and we’ve learned as much from them as we’ve imparted to them in terms of our knowledge. This is the beginning of a two year modular curriculum and the design of this is to have multiple teams from the medical college of Wisconsin return to Belize and to do similar type of work. The next team will be here in May of this year and then again in October of this year. The cycle will repeat itself again. I will be bringing this team back again next January 2015 and again in April of 2015 from the Medical College in Wisconsin and then again in October.”


…the benefits of the 2-year program in Belize

According to the team, emergency medicine, if not the most popular, is one of the top choices of specialty training in the United States. While its practice is relatively young, it was developed following the experience in Vietnam where the importance of rapid transport and treatment of injured victim within the first hour of trauma could save lives. According to both Dr. Bruce and Dr. Adrian Coye, the Director of Medical Services at the K.H.M.H., team work will help to transform the culture of emergency medicine response and healthcare.

Dr. Mark Bruce, Team Leader

Mark Bruce

“Gunshot injuries are well within the sphere of the expertise of emergency medicine and our facility certainly sees that—not in frequently—especially the trauma center at the Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, which is the home base for the Medical College for Wisconsin and also the Saint Joseph Hospital where Aaron works and Chris has worked before; they have a fairly high gunshot wound volume also. The management of that, the principles of management of that are universal and these principles of management have been articulated well through some course work that have been recently brought here to Belize with the advance trauma life support course and which is being expanded upon through this program too.”

Adrian Coye

Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services, K.H.M.H.

“We have had many other patient encounters that are not trauma related and emergency medicine as Dr. Bruce has been saying is a specialty that now has to be part of our whole agenda here. We have to transform how we approach the emergency care to patients from maybe like a clinic setting—because many of our doctors have had that past experience—into very focused approach in terms of the critical timing of care of patients and the team approach which is again the reason why we have the representations that we have here. So it is not about our doctors, it is about our team. And yes they are investing in the doctors, nurses and the EMTs which will improve what we do pre-hospital and what we do here, but in a team approach, everyone counts; even down to the porter who takes the blood samples and all of that. So we want to transform the culture of what happens here.”

Donna Venezia

Dr. Donna Venezia, Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care Expert

“Belize has something that is unique. Most of the countries around the world do not have a pre-hospital system that works. You guys are lucky you have BERT. You have a system here for taking somebody who is shot or injured on the side of the road from a car accident or who is very sick and can’t get to the hospital otherwise. You have a pre-hospital system that most other countries around the world simply don’t have. And to me, this is one of the things that makes your emergency experience here, or the ability for this country to move forward to be the best in emergency medicine because you have something that most people don’t even realize is important, but it is. It is critical.”

During the summer, representatives from Belize will head to Wisconsin, Milwaukee where the medical college is located to work in simulation laboratory to do particular skill development and rotating shifts at three A&Es. 

Channel 5