Archive for July, 2011

Landstuhl Is First Level 1 Center Outside U.S.

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The outstanding care provided to more than 64,0000 troops over the course of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has earned Landstuhl Regional Medical Center the first Level I Trauma Center designation awarded outside the United States.

Verified by the American College of Surgeons, Level 1 Centers must be staffed around-the-clock with doctors and other staff able to handle the most serious injuries, must admit at least 1,200 patients a year, have a residency program and outstanding trauma research and injury prevention programs. “The ACS reviewers included dozens of commendations, including the hospital’s rigorous critiques of patient outcomes and the staff’s ability to use that information to improve care,” a Stars and Stripes article on the subject reported.

Hospital-Acquired Infections Take an Enormous Toll on our Health Care System

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

A new study published in the Archives of Surgery confirms that hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are more common and deadly than many people understand.

Trauma patients who develop bloodstream infections are six times more likely to die than those who have not contracted an infection. Those with infections also spend about twice as long in the hospital and spend twice as much as those who are able to avoid them. And HAIs kill up more than 90,000 Americans each year.

An article on the subject published by Consumer Reports Health.Org shares some tips for surviving a hospital stay.

ATS Releases Map Showing Holes in Trauma System

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Yesterday the American Trauma Society (ATS) released a new interactive map that clearly shows areas of the country where people needing emergency care could not make it to a trauma center within 45-60 minutes either by land or air transport. Large portions of the Great Plains and mountainous areas and the Southwest fall in the danger zones.

In an article appearing in Time magazine today, ER physician Zachary F. Meisel talks about why it matters where we live, work and play; and why sometimes “acts of God” needlessly result in death.

“Medical science has worked hard to…prevent such deaths: the institution of airbags and seat belts and breakaway signposts, which research shows save lives, has helped make cars and roads much safer than they used to be,” writes Meisel. “Likewise for heart attacks and strokes: we treat risk factors like elevated blood pressure and cholesterol in order to prevent sudden, catastrophic events. Yet once these sudden events do occur, we are learning that location matters in who gets specialized and timely treatment.”

Read Dr. Meisel’s article.

NTI Board Chair Provides Statement During PCORI Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Today, Dr. Timothy C. Fabian, Head of the Dept. of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and Chairman of the Board at NTI, spoke to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) on the need to prioritize and provide funding for trauma research.

“Large gaps in the evidence base impact many patients,” testifed Dr. Fabian. “Patient-centered outcomes research is crucial for trauma because it knows no bounds of race, age, gender, or socioeconomic status.” NTI believes that trauma is the quintessential example of a patient-centered event because no trauma incident is quite the same as another.

PCORI was established by Congress through the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to conduct research that provides evidence that helps doctors and patients make the most informed decisions.

Military Doctors Prepare for Deployment at Maryland Shock Trauma

Monday, July 18th, 2011

By now, it’s well understood that civilian medicine benefits from discoveries made in battlefield hospitals where military doctors see large numbers of wounded soldiers and learn what works to save lives. But how does the military train doctors who have yet to see their first deployment to a war zone? It sends them on a tour of duty to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Watch this CNN story about how doctors prepare for the horrors of war.

Head Trauma Survivor Knows More Research is Needed

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

A story published July 10 in the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Crystal Elmendorf, a woman who was in a rollover vehicle crash 10 years ago. She thrives after her long recovery from a traumatic brain injury because her neurosurgeon, Dr. Geoff Manley, removed part of her skull to alleviate pressure on her brain and administered an experimental treatment to reduce brain swelling involving a highly concentrated salt solution.

Manley said that he was taught that patients like Crystal had little chance of surviving without severe complications and disability, but new treatments developed since his medical training have made meaningful recovery possible. Still, he recognizes, “Not every patient turns out to be Crystal.”

Elmendorf believes her story should spur more research into treating brain injuries. Full recovery is possible for more people!

Helmet Sensors May Reduce Injury, But Won’t Prevent Concussions

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Traumatic brain injury researchers at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a commercially available football helmet that can detect the severity of a blow to the head and provide information to trainers and coaches. With better information about the condition of the player, immediate action can be taken to protect him against further injury.

Sensors in the helmet will set off an alarm when a player takes a hit above a certain threshold, notifying coaches of players at risk. Professor Stefan Duma, the researcher who developed the accelerometer technology used in the helmet, has been the primary force behind the development of this type of helmet for past eight years.

Still, helmets are not going to prevent concussions. And at an additional $150-$300 per helmet, the price may be too steep for high school athletics programs to adopt them widely.

Read More.