Prevent Trauma, Save Lives
UF Health Jacksonville is the only Level I trauma center in the region. When disaster strikes, our talented nurses and physicians work tirelessly to save limbs and lives — that is what they are trained to do. They also work incredibly hard to decrease the number of traumas that occur in our region.
“It is always tragic to see people die, never be able to walk again, lose a limb or suffer a traumatic brain injury,” said Chad McIntyre, manager of TraumaOne Flight Services. “If I could reduce the number of those who come in the door, I would.”
That’s the driving force behind the initiative to become a verified Level I trauma center by the American College of Surgeons. This verification carries a level of reinforced commitment to lead in service, promote quality assurance and improve performance and patient safety at each level. As part of this verification process, UF Health Jacksonville must demonstrate prevention efforts in the community.
“UF Health has always been very strong in prevention,” said Marie Crandall, MD, FACS, an acute care surgeon at UF Health Jacksonville. “For the ACS accreditation, we’ve decided there are three areas we’d like to focus on: distracted driving, seat belt usage and gun safety.”
McIntyre and his TraumaOne team constantly work to inform the public on simple, yet effective ways to prevent traumas. Over the next few months, they will be at the Jacksonville Art Walk — the first Wednesday of every month — sharing information on gun safety and passing out gun locks, as well as using their distracted driving simulator to show how long it actually takes to read a text message. The group will also pass out materials about the importance of seat belt usage.
“We continue to teach people about putting safety belts on, and despite all of our best efforts, we still see a tremendous amount of people who are ejected from their vehicles. And it’s almost always lethal,” McIntyre explained.
The team is focusing on these three hazards because they are the top reasons patients are brought into the trauma center. They also are associated with the highest morbidity and mortality rate in the TraumaOne service area, which encompasses 31 counties with a population of more than 1.3 million.
In addition to these prevention efforts, the team is ramping up its education outreach as part of the ACS verification process. This initiative will focus on teaching the community how to control bleeding.
“What we have found after the Sandy Hook shooting almost five years ago to the Orlando shooting a few weeks ago is that most of those people didn’t have to die, if we can just teach someone how to put on a tourniquet and control bleeding,” McIntyre explained.
This program was created by the ACS, which believes good educational programs that teach simple lifesaving and limb-saving skills are needed to enhance any trauma system. UF Health Jacksonville agrees and works to positively impact the surrounding community. Educating people on how to prevent traumas saves lives.
Marie Crandall, MD, MPH, FACS
Associate Chair, Research; Chief, Division of Acute Care Surgery; Program Director, General Surgery Residency