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Medical emergencies in a dental office are one of those things that we always want to be well prepared for, and then hope we’ll never have to actually use the training. But hope is not a plan of action, so recently we spent time as a team, training to respond to the unexpected medical emergency.

Our trainers are Fred and Dan Beckwith, two Level I EMTs with years of big city/small town experience as well as a long history of training others in emergency care. They’ve worked with us before, training our team members in CPR and the use of our automatic external defibrillator (AED). We know that they know their stuff, and just as important – that they can teach it to us effectively.

We scheduled two classes over two days and divided our team members so that everybody had the ability to learn and practice in a small group. Group management and/or leadership during an emergency was definitely part of the learning process as well. When it was over, we all came away a with better understanding of emergency assessment and response, as well as increased confidence in our roles in the office.

This all comes to mind now because this week we had our quarterly emergency response review during one of our lunch hours. It’s a scheduled opportunity for us to discuss our training, brush up on skills, offer up questions, and evaluate our preparedness.

Why is this important to you as a patient in our office? Stuff happens. We’ve seen some of it, and thankfully each event had good intervention and outcome. People who have had “vagal” responses becoming hypotensive and nonresponsive; the patient complaining of chest tightness; the diabetic patient who forgot to eat and becomes symptomatic of low blood sugar; patients with respiratory distress; those with extremely high blood pressure; the patient discovered to have a rapid and irregular heart rate; the patient with episodes of petit mal seizures; the gentleman with head trauma due to a fall in the parking lot.

It’s nice to know that when we call EMS they are here within minutes. And it’s nice for you to know that before they arrive we are taking action, working as a team, and responding as we’ve been trained.