Archive for June, 2011

Disinfection Machine Shows Great Promise for Stopping Hospital Infections

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Hospital-acquired infections may be a thing of the past with the development of a new machine that uses ultraviolet light to kill harmful organisms that tend to linger in patient rooms. Xenex Healthcare Services recently completed the regulatory process and conducted product testing on its ultraviolet cleaner, which can clean a patient room in as little as 10 minutes. One test hospital saw an 82 percent reduction in Clostridium difficile since instituting use of the machine in January.

Hospital-acquired infections are a serious problem in the United States and one of NTI’s focus areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1.7 million such infections either caused or contributed to almost 99,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2002.

Read more about the Xenex cleaner.

NTI Chair-Elect Testifies before Senate Committee on Importance of Non-Compressible Hemorrhage Research

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Yesterday, Dr. Donald H. Jenkins, NTI’s Board of Directors Chair-Elect and Chief of Trauma for the Mayo Clinic, presented testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee regarding the imperative for better treatment strategies addressing non-compressible hemorrhage. Non-compressible hemorrhage is severe bleeding to the torso that is not treatable with tourniquets or hemostatic bandages, and it is the leading cause of death among soldiers whose deaths are considered potentially survivable.

In his testimony, Dr. Jenkins pointed out that “an accelerated program of research into non-compressible hemorrhage will result in the first truly novel advances in treating this difficult problem, will save the lives of soldiers wounded in combat and will have a tremendous impact on civilian casualties and costs.”

Fifty years of dedicated research into diagnosis and treatment of leukemia has led to an 80 percent reduction in the death rate, Jenkins testified. “Imagine even a 5 percent reduction in trauma deaths, injuries and economic burden–this would save the U.S. $35 billion, prevent 1.5 million injuries and save almost 9,000 lives every year.”

In follow-up questions, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) asked about NTI’s specific recommendation to address the problem, and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) asked about how the survival rate for our soldiers in combat has improved since WWII. Click here to watch a webcast of the hearing: Dr. Jenkins’ testimony begins at approximately 104.30.

NTI’s recommendation to the subcommittee is that at least $15 million in the Defense Health Program be set aside for a peer-reviewed research program to spur better technology to treat non-compressible hemorrhage. Both lawmakers

Read Dr. Jenkins’ complete remarks.

What a Smart Car! BMW Transmits Injury Info to Trauma Centers

Monday, June 20th, 2011

BMWs equipped with enhanced automatic collision notification (ACN) can now use sophisticad mathematics to analyze the car’s sensor data and provide an estimate of the occupants’ likely severity of injuries to a 911 call center or the nearest trauma center.

Working with the University of Miami’s William Lehman Injury Research Center, BMW is perfecting the system whose aim is to save lives by affecting emergency response during the “golden hour,” or the first hour after a crash when timely and appropriate treatment is most likely to affect life or death outcomes for traumatic injury victims.

The current technology available on telematcis-equipped cars can sense the severity and angle of impact, airbag deployment and seatbelt use, but beyond that provides no interpretation of the data. Without insight into the level of injuries sustained in a car crash, first reponders are often policeman in patrol cars, who then call in EMS if necessary, adding time to the golden hour clock.

Read more about the implicaions for BMW’s new technology.

Australian Study Shows Computer Decision Support Reduces Errors in the ER

Monday, June 13th, 2011

In an environment where a critical decision must be made every 72 seconds, medical researchers in an Australian hospital found that trauma teams had a 9.2 percent error rate. But when the teams were provided with a real-time computer decision support system, the error rate dropped significantly. The rate of error dropped even further for patients with severe blood loss.

The study, which was conducted over four years in The Alfred Hospital, found that the computer system consistently raised performance of trauma teams by giving staff insight into their most common oversights. Lead investigator, professor Mark Fitzgerald, remakred that the research illuminated the fact that trauma medicine is not vertical and ordered, but more like “driving a car at high speed on unmarked roads.”

Read More.

U Michigan Center Focuses on Reducing Death and Disability Caused by Vehicle Crashes

Friday, June 10th, 2011

With a recent renovation, the University of Michigan International Center for Automotive Medicine (ICAM) adds new capabilities to conduct research that combines trauma medicine, computer analysis and automotive engineering. At the center, experts from many different disciplines work together to reduce death and disability related to motor collisions.

ICAM also hosts CrashEdu.org, an online crash response training resource for law enforcement, emergency medical services and medical personnel to help them effectively use the crash information being sent by vehicle Automated Crash Notification systems.

Learn more about the center and its work.

ER Doctor in Joplin Recounts Harrowing Experience Saving Lives After Tornado

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Read this amazing story written by Dr. Kevin Kikta, an emergency physician at the now destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri. It paints a vivid picture in both words and images, of what trauma care professionals faced during the worst tornado to strike the United States since the 1950s.

Kikta begins:

“You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over.

“The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4:00 pm ER shift. As I drove to the hospital I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift.” Read the rest of the story.

NTI Offers Safety Tips to Avoid Summer Traumas

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

With the summer “trauma season” nearly upon us, NTI has issued a press release that includes reminders for prevention of common summertime injuries. While most Americans think of summer as a fun-filled 12 weeks, emergency department personnel see an uptick in admissions as vacationers travel, take part in risky activities and spend more time in the water.

Keep your family out of harm’s way this summer by keeping these tips in mind:
Make auto safety a priority. Always avoid texting or cell phone use while driving, properly attach car seats for children and map out routes ahead of time. Program a dashboard GPS unit, or if necessary, pull the car over to a safe place before consulting a map.

Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home and car. Not every injury qualifies as a traumatic one, of course, but untreated bleeding can make a moderate injury much worse. A well-stocked first aid kit will help you address everything from cuts to more severe injuries.

Keep fire extinguishers in and around the house. In a multi-story home, there should be one on each floor, or at least near the kitchen and master bedroom. For outdoor grills, BBQs and bonfire pits, keep a fire extinguisher and/or hose attached to an outdoor faucet nearby.

Wear protective equipment and safety gear at all times. Adults and children alike should always wear helmets, elbow and knee pads when biking, skating and riding on motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Always use caution in the water. Keep enough life jackets on board a boat for every passenger. Never leave children alone in the water, and only swim in designated areas of a beach supervised by a lifeguard.

Keep cell phone chargers in your car, home and office. A properly charged cell phone is a lifeline in the event of serious injury. Getting qualified first responders to the scene in a timely manner can literally be the difference between life and death.

Know where the closest trauma center is. Only certain hospitals around the country have the resources to be a designated trauma center. Locate an accredited facility near you .

Conference Brings Civilian and Military Medicine Closer

Monday, June 6th, 2011

With 400,000 U.S. military veterans calling Central Florida home, the city of Orlando hosted the Medical Technology, Training and Treatment (MT3) Conference, a forum to bring military and civilian medicine together for the benefit of both communities. The keynote speaker, singer Theresa Sareo, lost a leg when a drunk driver ran her over. Sareo now walks using a sophisticated prosthetic leg whose development is credited to advancements made as a result of military needs.

About 150 military medical personnel, medical device manufacturers and civilians in medical academia attended the conference, the fourth annual such event. Read coverage in the Orlando Sentinel.

New Cell Phone App Diagnoses Concussions

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Head trauma researchers partnered with a doctor at the University of North Carolina to create a mobile phone application that helps determine whether someone has suffered a concussion. After a user answers some questions about the patient’s symptoms, the app indicates whether a head trauma is likely and can email information to a doctor.

Jason Mihalik of UNC’s brain injury research center joined Justin Smith of Psychological Assessment Resources Inc. and the Children’s National Medical Center in developing the program.
Read More.