Archive for May, 2011

Hospitals in Houston and Tampa Reunite Survivors and Trauma Teams

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Houston’s Ben Taub and Tampa’s General Hospitals each held trauma awareness events over the Memorial Day weekend to reunite trauma survivors and their caregivers–people who come together in extreme crises, yet rarely get the chance to learn how the trauma resolves. Emergency doctors and nurses are often unable to follow victims’ progress as they recover; and patients who may have been unconcious or in shock during emergency treatment do not have the opportunity to recognize and thank the people responsible for saving their lives.

In Houston, Ben Taub Hospital created an annual event to bring some meaningful closure for those involved in traumatic incidents. Tampa General’s event also provided the opportunity for trauma survivors to meet each other and provide mutual support.

As National Trauma Awareness Month comes to a close, NTI applauds these hospitals for raising awareness in their communities and for helping to develop supportive communities for trauma survivors.

Holiday Weekend Preceded by Reminders about Distracted Driving

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Yesterday, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) sent out a press release to remind people about its “Decide to Drive” campaign to end distracted driving. A big holiday weekend means more people on the roads and greater risk of collisions. The AAOS recommends that drivers do the following to prevent becoming a statistic this weekend:

•Enter your destination address into a global positioning system (GPS), or review maps and written directions prior to driving;
•Avoid eating or drinking while driving, and move all potential distractions such as reading materials and cell phones away from easy reach; and
•Stop the vehicle in a safe area if a distraction arises that requires immediate attention.

NTI board member and Orthopedic Trauma Association (OTA) President Andrew Pollack said in the press release, “Our goal is to get all drivers who are used to ‘getting away with it’ to learn now — not later, the hard way — that it isn’t worth it.” The AAOS and OTA have joined forces in the “Decide to Drive” campaign.

Electrical Stimulation Shows Promise for the Paralyzed

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rob Summers, paralyzed from the chest down since a 2006 hit-and-run, can walk again due to an experimental treatment administered by researchers at the University of Louisville. Doctors surgically implanted a strip of electrodes along Summers’ spinal cord, which transmit electrical signals to the brain to stimulate movement. After two years of training and experimentation, Summers is able to move appendages, rise to stand and take a few steps.

Researchers caution the treatment has only been tried with one patient, and much experimentation and replication needs to be done before such treatment might be broadly available. But the dream of overcoming a traumatic injury and walking again has come true for one person. Read More.

NTI Provides Evidence of Need to Close Trauma Research Gap

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

NTI’s Executive Director Sharon Smith provided a public statement before the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors Meeting held in New York on May 16, 2011. PCORI is an independent organization created to help patients, clinicians, purchasers and policy makers make better informed health decisions.

In her comments, Smith outlined the case for making trauma a national research priority and providing research funding for advancements in trauma practice. “Fifty years of dedicated research into proper diagnosis and treatment of leukemia has led to an 80 percent reduction in the death rate,” she pointed out. “Imagine even a five percent reduction in trauma deaths, injuries and economic burden—this would save the United States $35 billion, prevent 1.5 million injuries and save 9,000 lives every year.”

Once it is fully funded, PCORI will commission research that is responsive to the values and interests of patients and will provide patients and their caregivers with reliable, evidence-based information for the health care choices they face. To learn more, visit

NTI Board Member Weighs in on Trauma Funding

Monday, May 16th, 2011

In an article published in the Houston Chronicle yesterday, Dr. John Holcomb, chief of trauma surgery at Memorial Hermann and an NTI board member, decried proposed Texas state funding cuts that will affect the quality of care received by trauma victims. In Houston and Galveston, combined cuts of about $4 million will result in the diversion of urgent-care patients to regular hospital emergency departments, causing delays in care which, in turn, will have life or death consequences, argue Holcomb and other officials from Memorial Hermann, Ben Taub and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Trauma Surgeon Reflects on Progress

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

In a column published online at, Dr. Raymond Georgen, trauma director at Theda Clark Medical Center in rural Wisconsin, reflects on just how much progress has been made in trauma care over the past decade or more.

Coordinated care, triage and transfer guidelines, state-of-the-art helicopter transport, trauma team availability, non-invasive testing like digital radiographs and CT scans, and revolutionary treatments all came together to save the life of a snowmobile accident victim this past Christmas. Dr. Georgen makes the point that even with all of these advances, there is no substitute for caring and dedicated healthcare professionals.

Continuum of Care Highlighted in Documentary on Gabby Giffords

Monday, May 9th, 2011

In a program that aired on CNN yesterday, Sanjay Gupta documented the progress of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords as she recovers from a gunshot wound to the head. Tracing the continuum of care Giffords received, beginning with the EMTs who first treated her at the scene and transported her to Tuscon’s Level 1 Trauma Center, Gupta shows how a swift response, quick thinking, excellent training, battlefield experience, and arduous therapy have all played a part in Giffords’ positive prognosis.

Gupta interviwed the first responders who took her to the hospital, the trauma and brain surgeons who first treated her, and the rehab specialists working with her in Houston. While there really wasn’t much NEW information about the tragedy in the program, Gupta does a good job of shining a spotligh on the importance of each step in the spectrum of care for victims of traumatic injuries.

Roughly only 5% of people who sustain similar gunshot wounds survive, reports Gupta. Original medical analysis of Giffords’ therapy and video excerpts from the documentary are available at

Military’s Joint Theater Trauma Registry is Making a Difference

Friday, May 6th, 2011

In an American Forces Press Service story published yesterday, the commander of the Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Guillermo Tellez, says that the developing knowledge base in the Joint Theater Trauma Registry is already making the course of care for wounded warriors much better.

Statistics show that 98 percent of the wounded troops that make it to the Bagram hospital now survive, despite the severity of their injuries. Lessons learned through the registry include the optimal amount of fluid to give patients, the most effective blood products, the best way to keep airways open, the best healing process for stomach wounds, and much more.

Read the story.

NTI Earns Guidestar Exchange Seal

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The National Trauma Institute is now listed on, which provides third-party oversight of non-profits, advancing transparency and enabling users to make better philanthropic choices. NTI has also earned the Guidestar Exchange Seal, for providing additional information over and above what is required.

To read NTI’s Guidestar report, visit our profile. Unregistered users can access the top tier of information, but registration is required to view NTI’s financials and tax information.

CNN Story Details Night in Tuscaloosa Trauma Center

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

A CNN story published yesterday provides a vivid image of how a trauma center works during a major disaster.

Over the course of six hours following the killer tornado that crashed through Tuscaloosa, the DCH Regional Medical Center treated more than 650 patients. Another 150 were seen across town at another hospital. Such a volume of trauma patients has never been seen in Tuscaloosa’s emergency departments, yet the dedicated surgeons, nurses, x-ray technicians and other trauma care professionals worked unceasingly to save lives despite the devastation to their own homes and worry about their own families.

This story is an amazing reminder of the importance of trauma centers and trauma networks and the need for the most advanced training of all trauma professionals.