Emergency physician Scott Weiner, MD, MPH, describes a chilling scene: You’re walking down the street and see someone unconscious on the ground. The person isn’t breathing, and nearby drug paraphernalia suggests that’s due to an overdose.
Although a 911 call triggers an emergency response, the chances of survival drop with every minute that ticks by until first responders arrive. But anyone can take actions that may save this person’s life, Weiner said.
Weiner described this scenario – and call to action – during “Empowering Bystanders to Become Heroes: Rescue an Opioid Overdose Victim,” one of five interactive sessions at the Brigham on Oct. 11 as part of HUBweek, a weeklong festival celebrating discovery and creativity across Greater Boston.
This is the first year BWH has participated in the event, adopting an inaugural theme of “Inside the Brigham: Innovation in Action.” Other HUBweek activities at BWH showcased the simulated spacecraft medical bay at the Neil and Elise Wallace STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation, “Stop the Bleed” training with experts from the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation, mobile app development with the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub (iHub) and a live pitch session with the Brigham Research Institute’s 2017 BRIght Futures Prize finalists.
Traditional lectures were in short supply. Interactive and immersive, the event invited 115 attendees to be not only observers but also active participants as they learned about breakthrough research and cutting-edge technologies at the Brigham.
“HUBweek showcases the best of Boston’s innovation culture, and our first year participating was a success by all measures,” said Adam Landman, MD, chief information officer at Brigham Health. “Attendees left not only knowing more about Brigham research and initiatives, but the content of several sessions also helped them feel knowledgeable and empowered in the face of crisis.”
Novel Research, Programs Inspire
During the opioid session, Weiner and his colleague Scott Goldberg, MD, discussed a study done in partnership with the city of Cambridge. The study assessed bystanders’ ability to administer naxolone, a fast-acting treatment that can reverse an opioid-related overdose, to a simulation manikin with help from a mock 911 operator. HUBweek attendees had the opportunity to participate in the same exercise at the STRATUS Center.
Nyryan Nolido, MA, a research project manager in the Division of Internal Medicine and Primary Care, attended the opioid session and stopped by the iHub pop-up studio to submit ideas for a BWH app in development. She described both sessions as inspiring and empowering.
“The event reminded me that we can all be active stakeholders in innovation at BWH as patients, family members, providers and researchers,” Nolido said. “It’s exciting to see a mammoth like Brigham Health working nimbly in the area of innovation.”
Difei Tong, a local college student, was among those who donned a NASA spacesuit at the STRATUS Center and learned how to pack a wound and apply a tourniquet during the Stop the Bleed session.
“The Brigham does a lot to educate the community,” she said. “It was really cool to come in and ask doctors and researchers about their work.”
Fellow attendee Umit Sami, MBA, a systems engineer in Scientific Computing at Partners HealthCare, said his favorite part of the day was the BRIght Futures pitch session.
“An event like this goes well beyond scientific presentations, and it is especially compelling because they’re doing it right in the hospital,” Sami said. “I see BWH as a central hub for medical innovation, and I’m really inspired by these creative, visionary projects.”