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November 16, 2019

Matthew Douma | Top 40 Under 40 2019

He empowers people in the medical field.

Photograph by Daniel Wood

Age: 37

Job title: Clinical Nurse Educator, Royal Alexandra Hospital; Assistant Adjunct Professor at Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Alberta; Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Emergency Nursing

Why he’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: He empowers people in the medical field.

Matthew Douma believes anyone can help save a life. But you won’t learn the methods he promotes in typical first aid classes. By leading an online-based, international resuscitation science collaborative, he seeks to create a community of people who can provide and teach aid where conventional methods fail.

“Whether it’s a man bleeding out in a parking lot, or a 38-year-old woman having a cardiac arrest in a mall… people often become bystanders. We want to turn them into rescuers,” says Douma, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of the Fraser Valley.

Seven years ago, Douma witnessed an incident that proved there was a huge research gap in resuscitation science that was costing people their lives. In an Edmonton parking lot, he came across a man bleeding out from gunshots to the abdomen, pelvis and thigh. Using an external aortic compression technique that he’d learned during his pre-deployment training with UNICEF, Douma kept the man alive until paramedics arrived. But the paramedics couldn’t perform the same technique — and the man died in the hospital.

The problem was, the technique wasn’t commonly taught in Canada. His solution? Assembling a team of researchers who are committed to spreading the word — to anyone who will listen. “We try to make our research as accessible as possible… to anyone with an internet connection,” says Douma.

Now, his work is not only recognized nationwide — his team has collaborated with organizations in nine countries, bringing their research to over 100 publications worldwide.

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.

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