Veterans Memorial Hospital prepared to treat all types of trauma patients

by Jeff Mitchell, PM
Paramedic/EMS Supervisor at Veterans Memorial Hospital

At Veterans Memorial Hospital we are prepared for any type of trauma that may walk or be brought into our Emergency Department. Whether it is small or large, minor or severe, there are always highly trained personnel ready to provide treatment and stabilization to that person or persons requiring help.

If pre-hospital staff is involved, it actually starts there. Let’s use a motor vehicle crash as an example. Two vehicles collide on a highway with several victims. Once EMS arrives on scene, the trauma system starts. All patients receive an assessment that takes a very short amount of time. This is called triage, which grades each patient by the severity of their injuries or condition. Once the conditions have been determined, these patients are treated appropriately and then transported to the local facility with the most severe being transported first. Patients are placed into one of four categories, red (critical), yellow (intermediate), green (walking wounded), and black (deceased). The receiving hospital is notified as soon as possible, giving them the information, so that they have an opportunity to prepare appropriately. This is known as activating the Full or Partial “Trauma Alert.” Another critical task is to take an accurate count of victims, triage their transportation needs, and ask for mutual aid to be activated and have the appropriate number of ambulances available to transport patients. As an onlooker watching the incident unfold, you would never know all these duties were being completed almost simultaneously. Patients are also continually re-evaluated for condition changes, and if that change occurs they are upgraded to a more severe level.
Once the hospital is notified of a Mass Casualty Incident, they begin preparing for the patients. Extra help is called in through a variety of ways depending on the situation. If it is an extremely large incident, the disaster plan is activated and all hospital staff are notified by two different calling systems. If it is not a major incident but a few extra staff are needed, we again can downgrade the calling system and get the extra help needed. As patients and staff arrive, the patients are again triaged and the appropriate care is assigned to each patient. Once patients have been evaluated, they are given the appropriate care and then released to home, admitted to the hospital for their injury, or transported to another facility for any specialized care not available locally.
Even during a large incident, people will also walk in with their own injury and/or illnesses that need to be taken care of. These people are also triaged by the severity of their situation and treated appropriately. The severe and life-threatening injuries are always the first priority. Next come the intermediate injuries and illnesses and lastly are the walking wounded or minor injuries. Regardless of what category a person is in, they will still receive high quality care as quickly as necessary and as fast as the situation allows.

If you are interested in becoming involved with your local ambulance service or would like more information on traumas or medical emergencies, feel free to contact Jeff Mitchell, PM, Paramedic/EMS Supervisor at Veterans Memorial Hospital, at 563-568-3411.