Archive for December, 2010

War Leads to Advances in Trauma Care

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

A story on National Public Radio today highlights some of the medical advances that have been the result of nine years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force Col. Chris Benjamin said that in the beginning of the war, doctors were using the best medicine from the civilian sector to treat patients, but now, the trend has reversed–as advances in military medicine have outpaced those in civilian hospitals.

Many such advances are due to better data collection, since most of the wounded pass through the same channels from Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan to higher levels of care in Germany and the U.S. “The volume of patients continues to yield new data that are helping to save lives in ways that were impossible only a few years ago,” reports Quil Lawrence.

Advances include better ways to deal with hypothermia, more effective tourniquets, the return to using whole blood, highly efficient evacuation procedures, and more.

Texas Trauma Doctors Urge Support for Driver Responsibility Program

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

In an op-ed piece that appeared in the Houston Chronicle December 23, trauma surgeons Ronald Stewart (an NTI board member), Ken Mattox and Alicia Mangram urge the Texas state legislature to uphold the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP), which will be reconsidered during the next legislative session. The DRP, initiated in 2003, makes sure that those responsible for the majority of traumatic road injuries help pay for trauma services through increased fines.

Since 2004, more than $305 million has been distributed from the DRP account to hundreds of hospitals in Texas to offset the cost of uncompensated trauma care. All this money has come from bad drivers–especially repeat offenders–those who cause the lion’s share of the injuries. Dr.s Stewart, Mattox and Mangram say the program has worked as intended, stablizing and building Texas’ trauma care system, resulting in a 28% increase in trauma centers across the state over the past six years.

When they convene in January, Texas lawmakers will be considering the fate of this program, as well as whether to allocate the DRP account to help close the state budget gap instead of for its intended use. To show your support for the program, please contact your state legislator.

San Antonio Poised for Distinction in Military Medicine and Trauma

Monday, December 13th, 2010

In an article published December 10 in the San Antonio Business Journal, former mayor Henry Cisneros argues that San Antonio now has the bioscience assets to make a larger commitment to pursue profound growth in the sector. Cisneros, who helped found BioMed SA, a nonprofit dedicated to growing the city’s biomedical sector, said that military medicine and trauma are two obvious areas of strength that ought to be prioritized when decisions need to be made to maximize investments and political capital.

The city has made great strides in the past decade, attracting some major players in the biomedical industry including InCube Labs; Medtronic; and Becton, Dickinson and Co. But Cisneros warns that momentum could be lost if the city fails to make some important strategic investments.

Pediatric Trauma Needs Research Network

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

In an article published simultaneously in the Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care and the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, trauma surgeons from around the country call for a national pediatric trauma research agenda and infrastructure, saying the enormity of the problem demands such attention.

“Pediatric trauma affects both genders and all economic, racial, and social backgrounds in the United States. Children are injured in rural, suburban, and urban environments. Childhood injury affects not only the physical well-being of the child but also the child’s mental health, school performance and the well-being of the child’s family,” say the authors.

Unintential injury is the number one killer of young people from 1 to 24, and it has enormous costs to society in terms of years of productive life lost and lifetime disabilities that add significantly to health care costs. “Because trauma is a disease process with identifiable and reproducible patterns, interventions can be developed that reduce and effectively treat its incidence and morbidity,” the authors say in a press release.

Collaborative networks for pediatric critical care and pediatric emergency care currently exist but only address specific sections of the care required by a pediatric trauma patient. The pediatric trauma research network proposed would address the critical unsolved problems that typically cross specialty boundaries including emergency transport to the hospital, emergency room care, pediatric surgery, neurosurgery, intensive care, physical therapy and rehabilitation. Read more.

These trauma surgeons make exactly the same arguments that NTI has been making for years for a national trauma research agenda and additional money to truly have an impact on the trauma problem. We applaud these surgeons for calling attention to the specific needs in the pediatric population.