Throughout my training and practice in EMS in the United States, I’ve had the chance to see how an organized and standardized approach to trauma care can make a significant impact in reducing mortality and morbidity, as well as improve quality of life. It had occurred to me that my home country of Turkey needed a similar effort. So, early in 2004, I contacted Chief Will Chapleau, chair of the Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) division of the National Association of EMTs’ executive committee, to talk about my desire to take PHTLS there.
After speaking with him, I started forming a core group in Turkey to lead the PHTLS in Turkey project. Serpil Yaylaci, MD, an attending emergency physician and emergency department director at Acibadem Bakirkoy Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, and I were proposed by Chapleau as the project’s Turkish national faculty. Yaylaci was chosen as our medical director.
According to Dr. Yaylaci, emergency medicine and paramedic programs started about 10 years ago in Turkey.
“Since then we have accomplished major tasks in these fields. To provide training to prehospital care providers at international standards is an area we’d like to focus on. PHTLS would be a great start for this initiative and I am excited to lead the efforts,” she says.
Last October and November, future faculty members from Turkey convened in Denver, CO, for two months to attend the PHTLS program and observe prehospital care “North American style.”
Chief Chapleau participated in teaching the instructor course and was impressed by the Turkish faculty’s enthusiasm and grasp of the program.
“I look forward to the next few months [of building] Turkey’s PHTLS program. I agree with Dr. Yaylaci that PHTLS fits perfectly into this critical phase of prehospital care development in Turkey,” says Chapleau.
The course was presented by HealthOne EMS in Englewood, CO.
“It was an honor to be asked to provide this training to an international audience,” says Robert Vroman, Colorado’s assistant state PHTLS coordinator. “PHTLS is the international standard in prehospital trauma care, and has been shown to reduce mortality from traumatic injuries after being introduced to a country.1 It is our hope that both the medical community and citizens of Turkey will see this same benefit.”
The Turkish faculty also had a chance to attend the ATLS and WMD programs at Denver Health. In addition, Pridemark Paramedic Services provided several EMS classes and workshops, including AMLS by Twink Dalton, Airway Management by Will Dunn, People Care by Thom Dick, and presentations on capnography and medical directorship by Art Kanowitz, MD, contributing a great deal to the group’s training and observation efforts.
Currently general practitioners, as well as nurses and paramedics, are involved in prehospital care in Turkey. The intention is to replace nurses with paramedics, as there are more paramedic graduates available to take over these jobs across the country. During this transition period, the main target group of the PHTLS program will be ambulance doctors and paramedics. However, nurses, EMTs and other practitioners will be involved as well. Another core instructor group (including surgeons, emergency physicians and paramedics) will again travel to the U.S. to take PHTLS courses in late June and observe the EMS system here. They’ll join the initial group in Turkey, forming a strong team to execute the PHTLS program.
The first PHTLS program in Turkey is expected to launch in 2006.
Ali J, Adam RU, Gana TJ et al. Trauma patient outcome after the prehospital trauma life support program. J Trauma 42:1018, 1997.