Spotlight_Trauma

Trauma Ready

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Trauma team members assess a mock patient during a practice drill in the emergency department on October 6. Pictured here (from left) are ED technician Patrick Mitchell, Dr. Byron Weaver, registered nurse Denise Lafountain, Dr. Peter Farmer and pediatric nurse practitioner Amanda Soroka.

As the front line of the region’s only Level I pediatric trauma center, CHKD’s trauma team must respond at a moment’s notice when a child with a life-threatening injury arrives in the emergency department. One way they keep their response as efficient and effective as possible is by holding frequent mock trauma drills – real scenarios played out with simulated patients.

These practice sessions take place in real time, at least twice a month, with no advance notice. On Friday, October 6, one such drill began with the following trauma alert: A 12-year-old girl has been hit by a car while riding her bike. Estimated time of arrival … 10 minutes.

The trauma bay quickly filled with a variety of specially trained professionals, each with a specific role. In addition to an emergency physician, trauma surgeon, nurses and technicians, this multidisciplinary team includes a child life specialist, social worker and a chaplain who provide emotional support and guidance to both the patient and the family.

No one knew this was a drill until the transport team arrived with a child-sized simulation mannequin strapped to a backboard, a cervical collar protecting her neck and her rubber leg wrapped in gauze. But the speed, intensity and professionalism of the response did not falter. Each member of the medical team took their pre-assigned place at the bedside and began the patient assessment.

The assessment always starts with ABCs – the three vital components of life. A is for airway. B is for breathing. And C is for circulation. The patient, equipped with high tech simulation software, was crying, which told the team that her airway was clear and she was conscious and breathing. Her blood pressure and heart rate were each within normal range and the bleeding from her leg was under control – all signs her circulation was intact. The team performed a head-to-toe examination, X-rays and an ultrasound. A blood draw was done and oxygen administered. The patient was declared to be stable. Only eight minutes had passed since her time of arrival.

“Time is critical when treating children with traumatic injuries. And so is the process we follow,” says Dr. Ann Kuhn, medical director of CHKD’s trauma program. “Continuous practice and ongoing training helps us respond with the skill, confidence and precision our patients deserve.”

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