August 2014 | ISSUE 13
LKCMedicine students STAR in trauma training programme in Cambodia

​By Brenton Sio, Ang Jia Wei, Chew Yirong, Toh Ying Jie, Class of 2018

The strongest teams are not made by individual stars, but by a team that works well together and that appreciates the interdependence of its different members. This was the greatest takeaway for us from our recent trip to Cambodia, where we joined the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)-Calmette Hospital trauma programme.

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LKCMedicine Year Two students with TTSH trauma team

On 28 June, a team of doctors from TTSH went to Phnom Penh to continue the hospital’s three-year initiative of assisting Calmette Hospital in strengthening its trauma care through the running of the Skills in Trauma and Resuscitation (STAR) programme. It is a great platform to share expertise and knowledge to improve survival of and care for Cambodian patients. The programme consists of basic, intermediate and advanced modules, and comprises trauma care at basic resuscitation level and damage control surgery in the operating room.

Immediately following the Year One summative examinations on 1 July, we joined the team already at Calmette Hospital to conduct the STAR basic and intermediate modules.

Aside from managing logistics, preparing simulated patients and running errands to ensure the smooth running of the programme, it was also an opportunity for us to foster new bonds with our Cambodian counterparts. Our shared eagerness to learn and provide better care for patients made this easy. It is also fundamental to ensuring such a mission remains sustainable.

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Brenton (right) preparing a simulated patient with a moulage (mock injury) for a trauma scenario (left); Ying Jie (left) inserts a central venous line guided by ultrasound under the supervision of TTSH doctors (right)

“Inviting the LKCMedicine Year Two students to join us in the TTSH-Calmette Hospital trauma programme is paying it forward”, said Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying, Assistant Dean for Phase Two & Three and Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine at TTSH. “The students support the course, the participants and the doctor-instructors by helping with the logistics, taking care of simulated patients and equipment, taking photographs and running errands. Along the way, they learn not just about trauma management but also about the teamwork that we bring to the programme, whether in Singapore or in Phnom Penh.”

We would like to sincerely thank the TTSH trauma team for this opportunity to work and learn in Cambodia, hopefully making a difference to trauma care. We would also strongly encourage our classmates and juniors to take up similar opportunities, for the learning and fun!