Advanced Cardiac Life Saving Certification

Why Dr. Robert Morabito & His Dental Team Chose to Take the Dental Advanced Life Support Training Course

Dr. Morabito practicing treating a cardiac arrest.
Dr. Morabito practicing a cardiac arrest in Tennessee to renew Advanced Cardiac Life Saving Certification

“Creating great smiles is an everyday event at our Falls Church dental office. But sometimes, for unforeseen reasons, medical emergencies do happen & we need to be prepared. In emergencies, seconds count & our dental team is continuously training. We are prepared & we have the equipment.

Anyone in medicine will tell you the same thing – be prepared & practice, practice, practice. You never know when something is going to turn south on you, causing a medical emergency. Dental offices are only required to take CPR every other year. I firmly believe that more is needed & to that end, we have the top ER nurse at Fairfax Hospital come to our office & work one-on-one with each of us to improve & ingrain the skills of CPR, AED (automated external defibrillator) & emergency medicine. Several times a year, we internally review our procedures & practice simulated scenarios led by our emergency coordinator.

As our population continues to age, coupled with the growing medical complications & the ever-increasing number & types of medications, we must be prepared. With all the above come more dental needs & more complicated scenarios. Managing & helping our patients weave their way through the medical situations & how they intermix with oral health are things that I have a passion for. There are absolutely directly & indirectly adverse effects of medications, health & happiness that go both ways. The state of one’s oral health truly is reflective of overall health. For the past 12 years, I have taken part in the Master Series – Advanced Sedation, presented by world-renowned doctors Tony Feck & Leslie Fang, in order to learn to safely manage our dental patients with asthma, diabetes, bleeding disorders & more.

Additionally, I routinely participate in a hands-on course called Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) which is the next level above CPR & dives much deeper into managing cardiac issues. In these courses, we learn the critical skills required to respond to respiratory failure, airway obstruction, cardiac problems & acute allergic reactions. Classes are taught by instructors who actually help to develop the CPR & paramedic protocols. In the hands-on course, we utilize the most advanced patient simulators in order to gain hands-on experience using equipment & emergency medications in situations likely to occur in a dental office.”

–Dr. Robert Morabito

An Interview with Dr. Robert Morabito

Having more than twenty years of dental experience, Dr. Morabito has had several unforeseen situations occur which required fast action & in some cases outside medical help. Here’s a quick interview with Dr. Morabito about how this training prepared him & his dental team to be lifesavers.

For how many years have you used sedation in your dental practice?

In 2001, I met a new patient, Margaret, who truly opened my eyes. She came to our office three times, but twice could not get out of the car due to anxiety. On the third trip, it took 30 minutes of coaching & hand-holding by Lourdes, one of my business team members, to simply get her from the car into the office. It had nothing to do with money, but rather incomprehensible fear. In fact, when I tried to take x-rays & do an exam, she refused out of embarrassment. During the entire 30-minute consultation, she held her hands over her mouth so no one could see the condition of her teeth. In fact, she refused my request to simply look in her mouth until she was sedated. I distinctly remember her saying in response to my question – “How can I tell what you need & how I can help you if you won’t let me look?” She responded – “That’s your problem!!!” That’s when I decided to get certified in oral sedation & nitrous oxide.

Why did you decide to take the Advanced Cardiac Life Support training?

As a dental student, I witnessed a few medical complications including a stroke, syncope (fainting) & an epileptic seizure. As my career advanced, my skills grew, our attention evolved towards handling more complex & larger cases. With larger cases, sedation was often necessary, & coupled with that, the need for Advanced Cardiac Life Saving (ACLS) increased. With more advanced training we can also manage an older population & those who have more complex medical issues.

Have you had any circumstances when you have used this training?

My assistant was talking to a patient in an adjacent room. She recognized that something wasn’t quite right & retrieved me to evaluate the situation. Within moments, I recognized she was probably having a stroke or a TIA & began to implement our emergency protocols. Step one is to get oxygen & laughing gas to the patient quickly. So, I retrieved the oxygen & the nitrous oxide. My team performed flawlessly with all aspects of the emergency & the rescue squad arrived to take her to the hospital. I was filled with pride looking around & appreciating how well my team had performed.

That’s an amazing story. How do you think Dental Advanced Life Support training will help in your dental practice?

When you are faced with an emergency like this in your practice, it’s difficult to understand the real level of preparedness needed to handle what may come your way. This training has made us aware of a variety of circumstances & how to effectively deal with them.

We have had other cases such as panic attacks, diabetic emergency, syncope, incredibly high blood pressure & a case of atrial fibrillation. Interestingly, not one of these situations arose due to our dental care, but each & every time our team worked like clockwork from recognizing the situation, implementing our protocols; all while doing it calmly & professionally.

It’s a wonderful feeling to walk into my practice & know that if a patient should experience an emergency, my team & I are trained in providing this type of response care. Contact our office for more information or to schedule a visit.

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