Avera ‘Airway Course’ teaching regional medical workers life saving procedures

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Avera is inviting medical workers to their Helmsley Telehealth Education Center. The center is a space for them to learn new skills that could save people’s lives.

Richard Crees is from Estherville, Iowa. He served as an EMT for 23 years and now works as a paramedic.

“We probably average two calls a day,” Crees said.

He is one of 75 medical professionals taking an airway course at Avera’s Helmsley Telehealth Education Center.

“Anything that helps my skills to betterment my patients… is what I need to do,” Crees said.

The course is open to medical professionals in rural areas around the region.

“People can’t get away for three or four days from their small towns, so they can come here and, in one day, get a focused course, and it teaches them an approach to managing the airway — or putting a breathing tube in the trachea,” Vanoeveren said.

“Some of the meds it takes to get somebody intubated without them waking up while they are intubated,” Crees said.

They split up into teams: one group gets to see the procedure from the telehealth side, while the other gets a hands-on approach. Instructor Luke Vanoeveren says that smaller communities don’t have the resources to learn these techniques.

“It’s something difficult. It’s something that is very nerve-wracking for people who don’t do it very often, and these are sick patients: you’re not prepared, you don’t know they’re coming,” Vanoeveren said.

“It’s going to help us get that patient in a good enough place that once we get them into our ER, that this type of thing can already be in place for them,” Crees said.

Crees also says, with the medical practices constantly evolving, it’s a good way to stay up to date.

“So, ultimately, I truly believe that this kind of work, hopefully, will, in the future, save a life and get someone intubated that maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” Vanoeveren said.

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