By Christopher Cottrell/ Images: Christopher Cottrell
“We’re training more Chinese community groups,” comments Dr. Billy Chan, Director for the Center of Medical Excellence at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST).
Outside, a tropical thunderstorm is lashing across the Pearl Delta. Inside the Center of Medical Excellence, a score of Chinese residents from Zhuhai are learning critical life support training skills. They’re from several small community associations keen to learn the latest theory and practical training for saving lives.
Dr. Chan explains, “At our Faculty of Health Sciences at our Macau University of Science and Technology, what we’re doing is collaborating with some community societies and associations in Zhuhai, just across the border. They are very interested to collaborate with us.”
He continues, “So what we’re doing today in this particular course in basic to advanced life support in adult and pediatric. This sort of life support is quite important because the guideline were deploying are the most sophisticated guidelines you can have, developed over the years. Technically speaking, these are compliant with guidelines used in Australia and the United Kingdom.”
Dr. Chan notes, “These guidelines are quite important because we want to make sure that we utilize not just theory but a simulation study that can do all of the hands on practice on how to resuscitate a patient when the patient is going through cardiac arrest. We also use some of the most important equipment automatic external defibrillators that are now widely deployed in shopping centers, even on the airplanes, airports. So we want to make sure they know how to utilize these machines.”
Dr. Chan says, “Normally, a basic life support course only lasts for a few hours, but this particular course last four to five hours because we want to make sure they know how to deploy these systems. To make sure they learn the latest updates. We want to make sure they will come back for more in the future. Because these sort of life support courses are not just something that we go through once in a lifetime. We need to train yearly. Day in and day out, we want to make sure these guidelines are being updated and that they are fully understood.”
He continues, “Ultimately, we want to make sure that this message can get across. And we can see in the cases with cardiac arrest and diabetic cases, particularly in the southern region of China because its getting more affluent. The diet and lifestyle are changing and they live in a very stressful environment in comparison to 25-years ago.”
He says, “These cases are increasing. So we want to make sure this message can get across not to just to the medical level, but to novices. You can see some of the students today are novices, but we teach some basic life support skills so they can look after a person next to them. That person could be next of kin. It could be their mom or dad. They could be suffering from a disease like diabetes and have cardio-complications.”
Moreover, Dr. Chan says, “These days in large hospitals they have to deal with pediatric life support and neo-natal problems. We want to make sure these newborn babies are safe in case they’re choking, or have airway problems. With pediatrics there’s a lot of cases of choking on food, and how you can clean the airway.”
In the morning theory sessions, they learn the latest Australian and United Kingdom life support guidelines, airway & breathing assessment, CPR initiation, and how to use automatic external defibrillators (AED) safely. Afternoon sessions shift to practical simulation training on basic airway adjuncts, pocket mask ventilation, and cardiac compressions.
Dr. Chan adds, “We do this in case they are at home or in the street and encounter someone who has gone through cardiac arrest they can immediately apply the methods of what they’ve learned today. They can save lives.”