Amid blinking lights, shattering glass and thumping helicopter blades, adrenaline was pumping at the Winterville Fire-Rescue-EMS station April 9 as students from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University joined first responders for a mock disaster exercise.
Approximately 20 first- and second-year medical students were accompanied by an equal number of Winterville rescue personnel and volunteers in the simulated emergency response to a multiple vehicle car crash. Dubbed “Disaster Day” by student organizers, the event proved to be anything but that.
“Today, the name of the game is experience,” said second-year medical student Zach Frabitore, who helped organize the event with other members of Brody’s Emergency Medicine Interest Group. “We get to see what happens at a trauma scene, what happens on the way to the hospital. This gives us a better idea who the other members of the health care team are and what they can do for the patient out in the field.”
Vidant Health’s EastCare helicopter kicked off the event by landing in an adjacent parking lot. Students toured the helicopter and plied flight personnel with questions about the capabilities and challenges inherent in treating patients in the air – in motion – and in a tight space.