Trauma can affect all of us, with no regard for age, gender, socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity. More lives are lost to traumatic injuries per year than are lost to heart disease and cancer combined, making it the fifth leading cause of death overall. For people 44 years and younger, trauma is the No. 1 cause of death.
Thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan and Congress designated May as National Trauma Awareness Month. Each year, trauma centers, like Mercy Medical Center, use this opportunity to promote injury prevention and trauma awareness in their communities. Also, emphasis is placed on ways non-medical personnel can provide critical help during trauma situations, such as first aid, CPR and Stop the Bleed, an initiative to train people to help in a bleeding emergency.
What is a Trauma Center?
Where Statcare offers care for minor injuries and illnesses, and hospital emergency rooms can handle anything from broken thumbs to heart attacks, trauma centers (usually located within the emergency room) are designed to take care of the more critically injured patient.
A trauma center is different from a non-trauma center because it is required to have 24-hour availability of a team of specially trained health care providers who have expertise in the care of severely injured patients. These providers may include trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cardiac surgeons, radiologists and nurses. Specialty resources may also include 24-hour availability of a trauma resuscitation area in the emergency department, an operating room, laboratory testing, diagnostic testing, blood bank and pharmacy.
Joyce Himebaugh, RN, Mercy’s Trauma Program manager, said that most often, patients are brought to the trauma center by an ambulance. “We will have prior notification from paramedics and be able to have appropriate resources available when the patient arrives.”
Mercy is verified as a Level II trauma center by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the State of Ohio recognizes this verification. Level II trauma centers provide definitive care for complex and severely injured trauma patients, and are expected to be clinically equivalent to Level I trauma centers except for complex specialized injuries such as replantation (the surgical reattachment of a body parts). “Trauma centers go through an aggressive accreditation process to assure trauma care is delivered according to established standards of care,” Joyce said. “We are re-verified as a trauma center every three years.”
When should you go to a Trauma Center?
It’s simple: If you’re not sure whether your injury requires the ER or a trauma center, call 911. The trained dispatcher will help you make that decision. Always call 911 in the event of any of these injuries:
- Traumatic car crash injuries
- Gunshot wounds
- Stab wounds
- Major burns
- Serious falls
- Blunt trauma (striking or being struck by an object)
- Traumatic brain injuries
‘Stop the Bleed’ Teaches Bystanders First-line Trauma Care
Mercy’s trauma center believes that Stop the Bleed, a White House initiative, can help save lives. The program encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency until professional help arrives.
Mercy initially offered Stop the Bleed classes to employees, but has taken the classes on the road to churches, schools, Boy Scout groups, and other various organizations. “The classes are free of charge, so if any organization or company is interested in hosting a class, we are willing to travel and put it on for them,” Joyce said.
The classes consist of teaching appropriate tourniquet use, wound packing, and using direct pressure. Stop the Bleed classes also cover ways to identify life-threatening bleeding vs. nonlife-threatening bleeding and how to treat them both. “This information is very important for everyone to know, especially in today’s society,” Joyce said, adding, that the techniques taught in the program do not only apply to mass casualties, but any situation where a person may be losing a large amount of blood such as car or industrial accidents.
If you are interested in Mercy teaching a Stop the Bleed class for your organization, please contact Andrew Bolgiano at 330-489-1111, ext. 3376.