Traumatic Experience

IMAGINE YOU are 16 years old and have just arrived home from school. You step inside your house and hear a low, muffled groan. It’s coming from the basement. After walking over and looking down the stairs, you see your dad, crumpled in a heap. What do you do? Roughly 30 teenagers were confronted with such a scenario this summer in Terre Haute in the controlled confines of Camp MD, a free day camp hosted by Indiana University School of […]

Scenario Doctor Camp 2019

IMAGINE YOU are 16 years old and have just arrived home from school. You step inside your house and hear a low, muffled groan. It’s coming from the basement. After walking over and looking down the stairs, you see your dad, crumpled in a heap.

What do you do?

Roughly 30 teenagers were confronted with such a scenario this summer in Terre Haute in the controlled confines of Camp MD, a free day camp hosted by Indiana University School of Medicine—Terre Haute that aims to spark interest in careers in medicine.

The patient, in this case, wasn’t a dad but a dummy who needed his injuries assessed and stabilized before campers put him on a gurney and rushed him to a waiting ambulance.

For many campers, spending a day learning about trauma care—this year’s theme—was their first exposure to a career in medicine. In small, outlying communities, hospitals and private practices are not always nearby, making it hard for students to interact with or shadow a physician.

“We do a good job exposing students to what all is involved,” said Emma Eckrote, a second-year IU medical student and co-director of the camp. “And we give them a chance to try their hand at it.”

Staged from the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative simulation center, the day begins with classroom sessions on performing CPR, clearing an obstructed airway and splinting a broken bone. They also spend an hour with a medical student who moonlights on an ambulance to discuss triage, approaching a scene and remaining calm in stressful situations.

“We do a good job exposing students to what all is involved, and we give them a chance to try their hand at it.”

Emma Eckrote, co-director, Dr. Camp/Camp MD

Students are taught how something as simple as tape can stabilize a broken arm. They take part in a CPR contest—top prize a 400-piece first-aid kit. It culminates with an in-depth simulation testing everything they’ve learned.

Demand for spots in the camp is high—twice as many applicants as available slots. To camper Madisyn Payne, landing one meant the world. “I prayed my little heart out,” Payne said. “When I got accepted into Dr. Camp, I was super excited. I started crying.”

The medical students are part of Terre Haute’s Rural Medicine Education Program, which trains physicians to work in medically underserved areas. They come from small communities across Indiana. In the campers, many saw younger versions of themselves.

Eckrote grew up in Macy, Indiana, population 200. She has wanted a career in medicine since the second grade, with veterinarian or ag teacher as her other options. “My brother was always much better with animals,” she said. “I decided that medicine was my best combination of the sciences.”

Today, Eckrote aspires to return to a small community to practice. She has an interest in obstetrics and gynecology. She would have loved attending such a day camp. Now, it’s a gift she can bestow to those who also aspire to become healers.

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