Several students participated in M.A.S.H. Camp at Little Falls Hospital this week.
The Medical Academy of Science and Health, also known as M.A.S.H. Camp, helps to promote health professions to students before they begin setting goals for their future careers.
Students from Little Falls, Dolgeville and Herkimer in grades 8-10 were able to experience hands-on interactive activities that highlighted the skills, equipment, technology and resources used daily by health care professionals as part of the program.
Little Falls Hospital Interim Director of Education Amy Bowerman said the camp gives exposure to every different modality of medicine. “The students have been to many different medical departments which shows them there is more to a hospital than just doctor’s and nurses,” she said.
Central New York Health and Education Coordinator Brianna Yetsco said students, in order to be chosen for M.A.S.H. Camp, have to apply for the program online through the Central New York Area Health Education Center. “Students must fill out an application and submit an essay explaining why they want to participate in the M.A.S.H. Camp program,” she said, adding the camp offers hands-on learning experience for all students even if a future in medicine is not a student’s ideal career goal.
Thirteen-year-old Christina Deschene, of Little Falls, said she decided to sign up for camp because it was something different. “I want to be an attorney in the future, but I thought the camp would be really interesting and it’s also a great experience to add to my resume,” she said.
Other students participated in the camp to learn about the different aspects of the medical world.
Samantha Ackerman, 14, of Little Falls, said she signed up for the program because she is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.
“I either want to be a nurse or an anesthesiologist,” she said.
“I decided to take part in M.A.S.H. Camp because I wanted to learn more about pharmacy, medicine and surgery,” said Nicholas Ferri, 13, of Herkimer.
Camp participants were also able to take part in an emergency helicopter trauma on Friday in which two students posed as injured patients. The students were transported from the hospital by ambulance to the helipad next to Veterans Memorial Park, where a helicopter was present.
Once the students arrived at the helicopter they were able to see how patients are treated in the air. LifeNet Flight Paramedic Dwayne Galt explained to students there are three people on board the medical helicopter — a pilot and two medical attendants.
“The pilot has no medical background which keeps the pilot from getting distracted and concentrating on flying, he said. “Having two medical aids allows for good judgment and a better ability to control the situation.”
Page 2 of 2 - LifeNet Pilot Stewart Bull said he usually flies the helicopter at 150 mph about 2,000 feet off the ground. “In a vehicle it takes about an hour and ten minutes to get to Albany from Little Falls, but in the helicopter it’s only a 30 minute ride,” he said.
Students asked Bull what was the most traumatic experience he has ever experienced.
“The cases that involve children really tug at your heart, especially those who have been burned. They are the most traumatic for the flight crew,” he said.
One of the first things flight paramedics check on a patient is their blood sugar, said LifeNet Flight Nurse Rebecca Akers. “The blood sugar test is not only used to check patients with diabetes, but it is also used to test if someone is having a stroke,” she said.
Flight paramedics also administer medicine to those who are in pain, as well as to those who become out of control. Proproal is a drug that is used to sedate a patient for a short amount of time and has the ability to erase a person’s immediate memory, said Akers.
“This helps patients from experiencing pain and re-experiencing the stress from a traumatic event,” she said. “The drug also helps to deter head trauma by reducing inner cranial pressure 30 percent.”
Galt said bath salts have created problems for air medics.
“It’s really hard to try and treat the symptoms because bath salts have many different compounds and each case tends to have a completely different make up, so there is really no way to stop the reactions that occur,” he said.
Galt said the air medics at LifeNet have found a drug known as Ketamine has worked to control some patience on bath salts. “The drug paralyzes the patient’s muscles so they cannot move,” he said, adding although the drug enacts paralysis it is only temporary effect.
To receive further information about the hands-on program or to download an application for M.A.S.H. Camp, visit www.cnyahec.com.