April 21, 2005 – "All right, give me some chicken," said Scott DeBoer, an emergency room nurse from Chicago. With those words, eight medical professionals from Roy L. Schneider Hospital each grabbed a chicken thigh, but eating was the last thing on their minds.
The chicken was raw, straight from the yellow Styrofoam package. Then thick, inch-long needles and syringes with red dye were handed around the table. These respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians were about to practice a life-saving procedure: inserting an intra-osseous line. They were using the chicken to simulate human flesh and bone.
An intra-osseous is done in emergency situations when there's no time to insert an IV. The line, which injects drugs directly into the blood-rich bone marrow, can be inserted manually, with a drill or a gun. The medical professionals practiced all of these methods on the chicken. They palpated the poultry and inserted the needles with a popping sound, and then shot the red dye into the meat.
The intra-osseous was one of several life-saving procedures taught by DeBoer at the hospital this week. Health professionals attending his seminar also worked hands on with dolls in car seats, practiced fitting neck braces and simulated other trauma scenarios.
"People are stressed dealing with children in emergency situations, even if they — especially if they — are not used to dealing with them," DeBoer said.
While the real-life necessity of these procedures is usually dramatic, sitting around a table of raw chicken provided some levity.
"If you have a kid who is cute (meaning healthy), don't do this," DeBoer said. "If it looks like someone is going to mind you putting this in them, they probably don't need it."
This is the third time DeBoer has given his class at Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
"He's always been given high marks because he keeps people's attention with his humor while giving valuable medical information on real-life emergencies," said Jeannine Mydlenski, director of respiratory care.
"This is a great seminar," said Celeste Brin, an obstetrics nurse. "It helps give those of us who do not deal with pediatric emergencies on a regular basis a good briefing on up-to-date resources," she said.
DeBoer has appeared on the television shows "ER" and "Trauma Center" when they needed an emergency nurse with experience on air medical evacuations.
The seminar will wrap up Friday.
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