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CHRISTUS Health Recognizes National Trauma Awareness Month

Shelby Ivey Trauma Coordinator

EAST TEXAS—This May marks 36 years since President Reagan declared May National Trauma Awareness Month, an annual month-long educational effort that recognized trauma as a major public health problem.

They define trauma as an event in which an outside force is exerted on the body, causing sudden injury that requires immediate medical attention.

Shelby Ivey, trauma program manager at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro, said the top causes of traumatic injury they see are ground-level falls, motor vehicle accidents, and animal-related injuries.

“One of our priorities when a patient comes in is to quickly assess the situation, stop uncontrolled bleeding, address any life-threatening concerns, and administer pain medications to comfort the patient,” Ivey said. “From there, we can determine the appropriate course of action, whether additional testing and imaging or surgical intervention.”

Gabe Brunson experienced firsthand the operations at a trauma-designated facility. Earlier this year, the Winnsboro native was injured when his chainsaw hit a knot in a tree, redirecting the saw blade just below his left knee.

They rushed Brunson by ambulance to CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Winnsboro, a level IV trauma center, where emergency room personnel treated him. Fourteen staples and a nice scar later, Brunson was discharged.

Ivey said there is a standard protocol for when trauma patients present at the hospital.

“When we receive notice from EMS of an incoming trauma or if a trauma patient arrives at our ER sign-in desk, the nurses initiate a trauma activation via overhead page,” Ivey said. “This notifies the other nurses, ER physician, lab, respiratory, and radiology of a patient who may require immediate intervention. The trauma team then responds quickly to that patient’s bedside.”

She said that not all trauma-designated facilities have the same capabilities and that patients can be stabilized and transported, depending on severity.

Both CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital—Winnsboro and Sulphur Springs are designated level IV trauma centers, while nearby CHRISTUS Good Shepherd—Longview and CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital—Tyler are designated level III and II, respectively.

“Our goal whenever a trauma arrives at any of our hospitals is to make sure we are doing what is best for the patient,” Ivey said. “The key is working with our other facilities to ensure patients get the care they deserve.”