Asiana crash creates unexpected learning environment for med students

Photo credit: Brandon Bond

“‘We have a busload of wounded passengers on the way, ETA 15 minutes,’ the loudspeaker crackled, as I arrived on my shift in the emergency department on July 6,” MIKE HOAGLIN, a fourth-year visiting medical student at Stanford, wrote in the School of Medicine’s SCOPE blog this week.

“Expecting a loud, chaotic scene, I instead walked in on a machine made of well-rehearsed professionals. From triage to trauma assessment, the hands on deck made disaster response look more like business as usual.

“I was quickly put to work and assisted with about a dozen patients with a chief complaint of ‘Airplane Crash,’ and through a Mandarin or Korean interpreter performed a crash-focused history and physical exam. Using bedside ultrasound, I also helped check for traumatic internal bleeding, which helped show us who needed to go to the O.R. immediately. …

“In addition to the incredible response by the Stanford ED and commitment of the staff who worked those extra hours, I was truly impressed by the larger regional disaster planning efforts taken in advance of this tragedy. It underscores why disaster medicine is a medical specialty of its own and how emergency medical system is part of the fabric of local government and the community. I was lucky to be a part of something that most physicians won’t see in their career and to have experienced it alongside our nation’s leaders in the field.”

Read Hoaglin’s full account on the SCOPE blog.