Back-to-back training workshops in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) have just wrapped up at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

The training was conducted by instructors from the Mayo Clinic medical transport unit following the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines.

Eighty AUA students and six faculty members were trained during the week-long exercise which concluded last Friday. Also participating in the training were Jonathan Cornelius of Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) and Marlon Destin of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

BLS involves techniques employed in cardiopulmonary resuscitation focusing on healthcare providers who respond to cardiovascular and respiratory emergencies. In the advanced course, participants enhance their skills in the treatment of arrest and peri-arrest patients through active participation in a series of simulated cardiac respiratory cases.

Training was conducted by James Newcome and Marcia Newcome, certified instructors at Mayo Clinic. According to Dr. Peter Bell, AUA’s VP of Academic Affairs & Dean, “The Mayo Clinic has been supportive of medical training internationally and has worked in cooperation with Holberton Hospital since 2001. Physicians from the Mayo Clinic visit the island on a yearly basis for clinical updates and this relationship has lead to the development of the cardiac life support training workshops.”

According to Dr. Bell, the training forms part of AUA’s strategic move in becoming accredited by the American Heart Association. “Our future goal is to have AUA become an American Heart Association international training centre,” stated Dr. Bell, adding that AUA hopes to achieve this within the next year. “In the meantime, we are pleased to work under the supervision of the Mayo Clinic instructors to train our medical students and health care providers and even lay persons in Antigua.”

The American Heart Association has issued the following statement regarding the AUA BLS/ACLS program: “American University of Antigua has taken the necessary steps to provide American Heart Association Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support training to its constituents. Until final approval of AUA’s International Training Center, the school may function as an AHA training site under the auspices and guidance of Mayo Clinic Medical Transport’s Gold Cross Training Center.”

From the perspective of EMS, Marlon Destin said this level of professional training will help in his day to day work and allow him the opportunity to share his knowledge and newly learned skills with his colleagues. “Training of this standard is difficult to get locally, so I’m just happy to have had this opportunity. It’s encouraging to know that the government is supporting AUA to allow them to help improve the health care systems in Antigua,” said Destin.

Mayo Clinic instructors James Newcome and Marcia Newcome were assisted by AUA’s Dr. Bill Cain and Carol Dickson of the American Hospital Management Group, the group responsible for management of the soon-to-be-opened Mount St. John Medical Centre.

Graduates of the combined BLS/ACLS workshops include, Dr. Amiralli, Dr. Bell, Dr. Carrick-Frazer, Dr. Hayden, Dr.Kastuk, Dr. Manjunauth, all of AUA and Jonathan Cornelius of ABSAR and Marlon Destin of EMS.