On June 27 at Arlington Agricultural Research Station, around 200 health professionals received training on agricultural injuries as part of the annual Emergency Care and Trauma Symposium sponsored by UW Health and UW Med Flight. Participants included Emergency Medical Services personnel, as well as emergency and critical care nurses from health facilities around the state.
The training provided participants the opportunity to visualize and understand mechanisms of injury and discuss best treatment modalities for agricultural injuries involving grain bins, tractors and large equipment, animal handling, and manure storage and handling. Presentations were given by staff from UW–Madison Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE), UW–Madison Department of Dairy Science, Arlington ARS, UW-Extension and symposium organizers with UW Hospital and Clinics.
“This was a great partnership for outreach. Each training station had a UW–Madison/UW-Extension expert as well as an experienced medical professional, to cover both the agricultural and medical aspects,” explained Cheryl Skjolaas, ag safety specialist with BSE and UW-Extension, who helped set up the training.
The idea for the training came from a needs assessment done by symposium organizers.
“From the needs assessment, we learned that people were interested in learning more about injuries happening on farms and in rural settings, so we connected with Cheryl to set this up,” said Kim Maerz, a flight nurse and nurse clinician with UW Med Flight and UW Hospital and Clinics.
Medical workers don’t always fully understand the farm-related injuries that they see—how they occur in the first place and factors that can compound the problems, like people trying to work through an injury.
Michael Abernethy, chief flight physician with Med Flight and UW Hospital and Clinics, shared an example with training participants: “A farmer fell off his tractor and had an open fracture to his tib fib. He had his son pull and set the bone and then wrap it in paper towel and duct tape. He spent the next eight hours bringing in beans before going to the hospital for help.”