Sometimes Your Patient is Upside-down

The annual Airway Obstacle Course has been known to reduce Paramedic students to a puddle of tears, but it’s a great teaching tool. The current Class at Cypress Creek EMS has now been put through its paces. Members of last year’s graduating class helped make the experience as distracting as possible by portraying nosy neighbors, emotional family members, and neighborhood know-it-alls. You know, the kind of people medics deal with on the streets every day.

You don’t just get to quietly apply your skills in the real world. There are flashing lights and there’s a lot of noise. Sometimes you get the patient breathing with a tube down the throat. Sometimes you have to cut a hole in the throat and insert a tube to get air into the lungs.

In the case of a rollover car accident, your patient may be entrapped and strapped into a seat upside-down. While firefighters work to free him or her you’re crawling in to get the patient breathing, often in the dark with various known and unknown liquids dripping down on you.

The Airway Obstacle Course is a somewhat reminiscent of a Halloween haunted house, only the participants have to practice emergency medicine on a seemingly never-ending parade of patients in the worst of conditions.

In the process, the students reach their limits and hopefully learn to push past them while getting the job done and keeping their cool.

Here’s a little taste of the sights and sounds of the Airway Obstacle Course.