The “Prehospital Care and Disaster Initiative” (PCDI) is a team of researchers and specialist physicians from the American University of Beirut (AUB) conducting projects related to prehospital emergency care and disaster preparedness at the national level. This initiative forms the link between the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) & Prehospital Care Program and the Vascular Medicine Program at AUB. Its projects enhance the collaboration between medical and community interest groups and focus on prehospital care emergency priority conditions with public health impact. The goals are to raise awareness, strengthen preparedness, improve outcomes and shape policy change.
Since pre-hospital care is multidimensional and involves many stakeholders, a number of studies were completed that examined the practice and experiences of emergency care physicians, pre-hospital care professionals, physicians working in intensive care and nurses related to cardiopulmonary resuscitation from initiation to cessation. Moreover, a community study of university students explored their knowledge, attitudes and practices related to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The findings of these studies identified the challenges and opportunities for improving pre-hospital resuscitation practice and care in Lebanon and a number of recommendations were proposed that inform development of an out-of-hospital resuscitation policy.
In a related vein, religious leaders were interviewed related to this topic and their views on life and death explored to inform decisions about training lay people in the community about CPR. Work is also underway with legal representatives to develop and enforce a good Samaritan law that can protect volunteers who perform CPR in the community. In parallel to this initiative, a number of non-governmental organizations are funding and pushing for provision of automated external defibrillators in public places to enhance CPR in the community and promote the outcomes of victims.
Mission: Improve the preparedness of private and public sectors in Lebanon to medical emergencies and disasters.
Vision: A highly organized system of emergency and disaster response throughout the public and private sector in Lebanon.
The Government usually provides guidance on preparedness for the different public and private sectors including schools and other mass gathering settings. This guidance in the form of regulations is currently lacking in Lebanon. The “Prehospital Care & Disaster Initiative” (PCDI) from AUB will be targeting this topic and establishing a network of stakeholders to improve preparedness across all sectors in Lebanon. The general approach follows the “three core functions” of public health planning:
Amendment of Lebanese Law #567 Incorporating GOOD SAMARITAN Section
Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A medical, legal and public challenge
The Vascular Medicine Program at AUB worked with the Lebanese Society of Cardiology (LSC) and the Lebanese Society of Emergency Medicine (LSEM) to organize a conference on ‘Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A medical, legal and public challenge’, on Saturday March 30, 2019 at the Lebanese Order of Physicians. The conference achieved its targets to: 1. Draft the proposal for Lebanese Good Samaritan Law, 2. Develop a working plan to achieve mandatory training of high school students on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and 3. Propose a working scheme for Public Access Defibrillator Programs. This presents hope for health policy and regulatory changes that will lead to improving the survival rate from out of hospital cardiac arrest, which is currently less than 5% in Lebanon compared to 30-50% at the USA and European countries.