Hospital resident docs train as first responders

By WEEK Producer

October 31, 2013 Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 10:38 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- Dr. Tyler Dschaak is learning how to use the jaws of life the way first-responders do.

"Its amazing how much power those tools have, the ability to cut through the metal like that," said Dschaak "There's a lot of power and a lot of force behind those."

And the experience empowered Dschaak.

He was one of about 30 emergency medicine residents from OSF St. Francis Medical Center who participated in an automobile extrication exercise Thursday.

"You want to train realistically and increase the stress level to make
situations where the adrenaline is going to be up, very similar to the real world where people are going to be living and dying," said Dr. John Wipfler, attending emergency physician at OSF St. francis Medical Center.

That's the world members of the East Peoria Fire Department work in. They served as the instructors.

"It helps us understand what process they go through before bringing them to the emergency department because we only see them when they hit the door," said Vivian Lau, one of the resident trainees.

"Before the patient gets to us, if there's a delay, we're more understanding of all of the technical difficulties that go along with that, so yeah, its definitely helpful," said resident trainee Dan Montgomery.

Extracting victims from wrecked vehicles is somewhat of a contradiction. It takes both brute force and delicate maneuvering to succeed. Some of these OSF St. Francis residents were also tested by working in confined spaces.

"When you have an urban search and rescue situation and a building collapse, people with their legs caught underneath a big, heavy piece of concrete, if you don't do it right people will die within ten seconds after lifting up the concrete," Wipfler said.

Which makes the residents' experience a potential life saver.