Congratulations to Dr. Michael Flesher and the MMU team on their Gold Apple win at the BC Health Care Awards on June 24!
Earthquakes, wildfires and other major events can happen at any time and have multiple casualties as well as a catastrophic impact on a community. A Code Orange signals a major event and is recognized by health care centres. While disaster relief training is generally provided to specialized groups in Canada, fewer than 15 per cent of Canadian-trained physicians receive disaster medicine education.
“Most hospital staff recognize what a Code Orange is, but may not know their role in it, how to perform that role and how to communicate with others,” says Dr. Mike Flesher, lead medical director for the Mobile Medical Unit.
That’s precisely why Dr. Flesher developed the Applied Disaster Medicine (ADM) course.
The course provides participants with an opportunity to practice their clinical skills in the context of a disaster, and to understand their site’s emergency plans, ensuring nurses and physicians have the ability to care for patients during a disaster.
The first course of its kind in Canada, the standardized curriculum uses the latest literature in disaster medicine practices and can be adapted and tailored to meet the needs of regional health authorities and even individual hospitals. Since its launch in spring 2018, over 100 health care professionals, including social workers, nurses and physicians have completed the course, and more BC hospitals have expressed interest in making it available to their staff. After taking the course, many participants say they feel much more confident about what to do in the event of a disaster.
As an emergency physician, Dr. Flesher has worked in emergency departments for over 20 years, and served as the Medical Director for Urban Search and Rescue for 13 years. He also gained experience in International Medical Relief and Large Scale Disaster Experience when he served as a team member with United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination.
Dr. Flesher developed the ADM course in collaboration with Health Emergency Management BC to be an educational activity of the BC MMU to prepare medical staff and hospitals for emergency events. Watch the three-minute video
showing the course in action and featuring Dr. Flesher.
Richmond Hospital staff took the one-day ADM course in early May 2019. Read what participants had to say about the course in this article.
Pictured at the BC Health Care Awards ceremony, June 24:
Dr. Mike Flesher, lead medical director, MMU; Peter Hennecke, clinical operations director, MMU; John Lavery, executive director, Health Emergency Management BC.