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Press Release



June 13, 2011

Cowley the site of Kansas�s first ever The Difficult Airway course


Difficult Airway courseProviding an intensive two-day, national level course designed for paramedics, critical care transport nurses and other advanced EMS providers, Cowley College is hosting Kansas’s first-ever The Difficult Airway course, Monday and Tuesday in Arkansas City.

The course is designed to help individuals learn the important airway algorithms and mnemonics. Individuals in the course will also use all of the proven airway devices in small group sessions, while practicing decision making and airway techniques in Code Airway Stations.

Participants will then face challenging patient scenarios such as elevated ICP, pulmonary edema, cardiogenic shock, status asthmaticus, foreign body in the airway, direct airway trauma, and multiple trauma with shock.

The didactic and hands-on training will cover RSI (Rapid Sequence Intubation), prediction of the difficult airway, difficult airway evaluation using video laryngoscopes designed for EMS, and surgical airway techniques. The group used robotic mannequins to mimic airway problems.

The instructors, consisting of paramedics and physicians, were flown in from Oregon and Utah to conduct the 16-hour course. Jeff Birrer, The Difficult Airway course director and paramedic in Portland, Oregon, has been leading the course for the past three years.

“The biggest benefit is the student and community will gain new knowledge and the best clinical practices of placing breathing tubes in a difficult airway,” Birrer said. “We are using the best, proven technology available.”

Along with 13 Cowley College instructors, individuals from the Arkansas City Fire Department, Winfield EMS, Sedgwick County EMS, and Butler County EMS also took part in the course. A total of 35 individuals enrolled for the course, which has plans to be offered at the college every other summer.

“This has been a very engaged, highly motivated group of professionals to work with,” Birrer said. “I have taught this course to the entire Western United States and I can say this has been one of the best classes in terms of educated, motivated people.”

Chris Cannon, Cowley College’s Director of EMS Education, helped bring the course to Arkansas City and also served as a student in the two-day event.

“We wanted to have people in the area get the most up to date training and what better way than to have the experts here,” Cannon said. “The faculty is top notch and it is a real benefit to have it here for the EMS providers in this area.”