Oral surgeon provides intubation training to medical staff
By Kirk FradyApril 29, 2020
SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – In response to the ongoing global COVID-19 outbreak, U.S. Army medical professionals are continually thinking outside the box and looking for new and innovative ways to put their expertise, training and skills to use. One dental provider did exactly that recently.Army Maj. (Dr.) Mirela Memic, an oral maxillofacial surgeon assigned to the Grafenwoehr Dental Clinic, volunteered her expertise and skills by teaching classes on emergency intubation to other Army medical providers over a two week period in April.Memic partnered with the medical providers from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Bavaria to teach Emergency Airway and Life Support techniques to approximately 100 medical personnel that included medics, nurses, physician assistants and physicians.MEDDAC Bavaria clinics don’t have ventilators, since they are outpatient facilities only. However, the training event was conducted primarily to provide military medical personnel in attendance better situational awareness and understanding of what is required to conduct emergency intubation and ventilation.As an oral maxillofacial surgeon, Memic is credentialed in general anesthesia, which includes intubation on pediatric patients and adults.“This training helped raise awareness of the complicated anatomy, physiology, equipment, medications, and complications that could occur during the intubation of a patient,” Memic said. “The overall goal of the training was not to certify anyone in intubation, but instead, it was to simply provide an overview of the intubation and ventilation process.”According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 virus is a respiratory virus and its most significant symptoms include difficulty with oxygenation due to effects on lung tissues.“Once the (COVID-19) process ensues, and if it progresses, respiratory failure can result in the need for mechanical ventilation,” Memic said. “However, in order to deliver mechanical ventilation, intubation is necessary first. These intubations are usually emergent and require teams of adequately trained personnel.”That type of specialized care is available at local host nation hospitals and is also available at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, but the training gave participants a better understanding of their role in the process.“There were many levels of expertise in the classroom, thus the hands-on portion was tailored to the different audiences,” Memic said. “In critically ill patients and emergent intubations, it is necessary to have teams of individuals with different levels of expertise in order to perform the multiple duties that are required in such situations.”The week long training was conducted using advanced mannequins designed to challenge the participants’ newly acquired skills with the most current intubation instruments and ventilators.“I feel this training provided each member of our Bavaria MEDDAC team more knowledge and awareness in the treatment of critically ill patients in respiratory distress or failure,” Memic said.