The Success of the Acute Neurotrauma Workshops
Since 2007 the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) with funding from the RHCE Stream One Program, has offered nine workshops in Acute Neurotrauma.
The workshops provide training in performing burr-holes, craniectomy and craniotomy for head trauma emergencies and a foundation for improved head injury management.
Due to the urgency of the case or difficulties with patient transport, there are occasions when rural surgeons need to perform emergency procedures to relieve raised intracranial pressure to save the patient’s life or reduce neurological morbidity.
In the workshop these skills are taught using relatively inexpensive equipment, such as the Hudson Brace, which can easily be available in smaller hospitals. Participants learned to correctly evaluate whether treatment on-the-spot was needed and how to proceed after contact with a neurosurgeon. Adequate time was spent operating on cadavers until participants were comfortable with performing the procedures.
Although primarily for rural surgeons, other health care professionals, such as retrieval emergency physicians, also have found the course very valuable.
Some of the major concerns the participants had about dealing with neurotrauma before the workshops were:
• unavailability of staff to perform or assist in rural hospitals
• no confidence in performing the procedures and
• communication issues with some neurosurgical units in the emergency situation.
Workshops were offered in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and one each in Perth and Townsville, with over 150 participants gaining the skills to deal with neurotrauma cases in the rural setting. The feedback from the participants was excellent.
Following the success of the workshops, a series of online modules is now available, and in this I am very grateful to Professor Peter Reilly who has taken the lead in developing this complementary resource.
A further two workshops are being offered in 2013:
- Wed 10 July in Melbourne at RACS
- Thurs 26 Sept at the University of Sydney
I am very grateful for the support I have received from my colleagues around Australia in facilitating these workshops and take this opportunity to thank Teresa Withers, Eric Guazzo, Lawrence Marshman, Glenn McCulloch, Marguerite Harding, Stephen Santoreneos, Amal Abou-Hamden and Ellison Stephenson for their great contribution. They have also commented on how they have enjoyed imparting skills to their rural colleagues.
Associate Professor Marianne Vonau OAM, FRACS