Teaching Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) in Austere Environments


John F. Sullivan, John W. Roman, Edmund A. Milder, Rachel E. Carter and Robert P. Lennon*

Objective: Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is emerging as a valuable tool for deployed
physicians, with demonstrated value in battlefield, disaster relief, and humanitarian
assistance missions. However, there is very limited data on teaching POCUS while
in an austere environment. We taught POCUS in a humanitarian assistance setting
during the February 2019 joint US Brazilian hospital assistance mission aboard NAsH
Carlos Chagas along the Madeira River in the Brazilian Amazon. This article describes
our methodology, challenges and success to provide a blueprint for others to add to
POCUS education as part of their global health contribution.
Methods: Partner nation physicians were offered POCUS training using a handheld
IVIZ® ultrasound machine loaned for use during this mission by Fujifilm Sonosite,®
Inc.. Training was conducted by a Family Medicine resident (PGY-3) with asynchronous
remote review by a staff physician.
Results: Two partner nation physicians were trained to the level of U.S. credentialing
in the Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) exam.
Conclusions: POCUS can be effectively taught during brief global health engagements,
offering partner nations an immediate capacity-building tool.