Dr Ben McKenzie
Multi-stream Allergy PhD Scholar
- PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne
- Project: A novel resuscitation algorithm and implementation framework for advanced management of anaphylaxis.
- Primary Supervisor: Professor Jo Douglass, Respiratory Allergy Stream Advisory Group member
- Emergency Physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital
- Retrieval Physician and Critical Care Coordinator,
- Adult Retrieval Victoria, Ambulance Victoria, Australia
- Instructor, The Procedures Course, Alfred Shock Trauma and Resuscitation Program, Alfred Health
Why is this research important to you personally, and those impacted by allergies?
This research will generate evidence based guidelines and an implementation framework for advanced management of anaphylaxis from any cause. Anaphylaxis is an uncommon but important cause of death in otherwise healthy people of all ages with allergy to foods, drugs and insect venom. Respiratory arrest is recognised as a major mode of death. Severe anaphylaxis requires critical care to prevent death and morbidity. Yet, because severe anaphylaxis intersects several clinical disciplines, current treatment guidelines lack the detail and consistency required for critical care interventions. The work to be undertaken through my PhD seeks to identify and develop guidelines to address this evidence-to-practice gap.
What inspired you to pursue a career in allergy research?
My son Max died when he was 15-years-old after mistakenly eating food containing traces of walnuts. He was diagnosed with nut allergy as an infant. He had not been in hospital before for his allergy, but in August 2021 he experienced fatal anaphylaxis and died at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Emergency Medicine has been my career long passion – I have worked in and helped lead ED’s across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Thanks to a PhD scholarship from the National Allergy Centre of Excellence I have shifted my focus to allergy research and recently started my research project to uncover a novel resuscitation algorithm and implementation framework for advanced management of anaphylaxis. The project will identify deficiencies in anaphylaxis arrest protocols and devise algorithms to address them. AMAX4 is a best practice algorithm for critical care clinicians in anaphylaxis and asthma resuscitation. I have presented this to over 500 emergency department healthcare professionals, so far. Having an opportunity to improve anaphylaxis care while I try and adjust to life without Max is helping me get through each day.
Impact of the introduction of an integrated Adult Retrieval Service of Major Trauma Outcomes, Journal Emergency Medicine. 2015
Chapter Author: Paediatric Cardiopulmonary Arrest, Chapter 2.1, Textbook of Paediatric Emergency Medicine 3rd Edition 201, 2018.
Section Author “ECMO Retrieval” and “Morbidly Obese Critical Care Patient Retrieval” ARV Medical Reference Manual (Pages 127-133, 159-165).