Today, we honor patients and families who have survived trauma – and we renew our commitment to providing the best quality of care possible to injured patients in our region.
It’s a commitment we have dedicated ourselves to since 1994, when we received our first Level I Trauma designation. Our champions then were Fred Rogers, MD, medical director of trauma, and Lori Camp, trauma coordinator. This designation symbolizes a commitment to the patients we care for – to being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to providing access to a team of doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff who work together to provide the best possible care to their patients, and to having sub-specialists readily available.
May 18 is designated as Trauma Survivor’s Day. Every year, we see thousands of patients affected by trauma. Some may see minor injuries and be discharged home from the Emergency Room. Others require months, or even years of care and more time for rehabilitation. For every patient there often many more family members who support a patient’s recovery. They, too, are survivors.
The effects of trauma can be physical – the paralyzed accident victim or the patient suffering a traumatic brain injury who can no longer care for himself or herself due to injury. There may also be emotional effects, with some patients developing post-traumatic stress disorder or depression from the life changes an injury causes.
We remember all the survivors on this day: the patients, the families, and others who have been affected. The perseverance you show in your recovery is inspiring to us all here at the University of Vermont Medical Center. We celebrate your strength and resilience.
We also remember those who we have lost. A father, a son, a daughter, a mother, a friend – these people leave behind survivors whose lives are forever changed. The number of people an injury may affect can be tremendous. Trauma leaves scars that may never heal.
We are committed to educating our community on how to prevent injuries. We have seen successes in our programs, which range from “TXT U L8R,” a program to prevent distracted driving and our falls clinic, to prevent injuries that may result from falls. We are heartened: More people then ever are ordering helmets and now see the positive reasons to “protect your head at all times” due to our PHAT (Protect Your Head at all Times) program. Our Child Passenger Safety Program has checked close to 600 car seats for proper installation in the past year. If we can prevent even one injury we consider it a success.
We thank our staff for the excellent care they provide. It takes many people and departments to care for our patients and their families.
To all of our trauma survivors we honor you today.
Jennifer Gratton, BSN, RN, is Trauma Program Manager at the University of Vermont Medical Center.