On November 5th, 2004, four members of the Great Orchestra for Christmas Charity (GOCC, the largest private charity in Poland) and a 2 person camera crew from Polish TV flew to the United States to take part in a program specially designed for them by Dr. Czekajlo (First Year CCM Fellow) to learn about resuscitation training in the US. The program included a look at the US EMS system to see what elements of training and the EMS system could be used as a model for implementation in Poland.
The itinerary started in NJ where they had an opportunity to tour several EMS systems and speak with EMS leaders. The group also completed an AHA First Aid and CPR course. They then came to Pittsburgh where they had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Walt Stoy from the Center of Emergency Medicine; Dr. Peter Kochanek, Director of the Safar Research Center; and Mary Newman , Executive Director of the National Association for Early Defibrillation. They also had an opportunity to tour WISER and do a ride-a-along with Pittsburgh EMS.
A documentary of the trip was made and aired on Polish TV in December. The trip was such a success that Drs Czekajlo and Stoy were invited as guests of the Foundation on January 9th for their annual fundraising meeting in Poland. $7 million dollars on that day was raised.
GOCC has primarily been involved in funding pediatric healthcare programs in Poland. Thanks to their efforts every Polish newborn has their hearing tested prior to leaving the hospital. They have purchased heart lung machines for the pediatric cardiothoracic hospital in Warsaw and 90% of Polish children with congenital heart defects are operated on. GOCC have purchased over $55 million worth of equipment for Polish hospitals in the past 12 years.
Together the newest project with Dr. Czekajlo is to standardize resuscitation training in Poland. They will start by training 200 police officers as AHA BLS/AED instructors this March who will in turn teach other policemen and the lay public. An initiative to train every graduating high school student (approximtely 600,000 annually) in CPR/AED is also under way.
The GOCC was so impressed with WISER that plans to build a simulation center in Poland were immediately started.