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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.332 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v14.i6.50
32 pages

An Organized Approach to Trauma Care: Legacy of R Adams Cowley

Richard Edlich
Legacy Verified Level I Shock Trauma Center Pediatrics and Adults, Legacy Emanual Hospital; and Plastic Surgery, Biomedical Engineering and Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, USA
John R. Wish
Member of the Board of Directors and Head of the Research Committee of the Association of Airmedical Services, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA
L. D. Britt
Chairman, Brickhouse Professor of Surgery. Department of General Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hofheimer Hall, 825 Fairfax Avenue, Norfolk VA 235001, USA
William B. Long III
Trauma Specialists LLP, Legacy Verified Level I Shock Trauma Center for Pediatrics and Adults, Legacy Emmanuel Hospital Portland, OR, USA

ABSTRACT

: The organized approach to caring for trauma patients was introduced into the civilian setting by the innovative pioneer, R Adams Cowley. His system in Maryland has the following 11 components: (1) a State Police Aviation Division that transports patients throughout the State; (2) trained paramedics at the scene of the accident as well as on the helicopter, who will stabilize the patients en route to the Shock Trauma Center; (3) one central dispatch communication center in Baltimore that coordinates information between paramedics and the Trauma Center; (4) a Shock Trauma Center with a helicopter landing zone near the building; (5) trained trauma nurses and trauma technicians to transfer the patient from the helicopter by stretcher to the resuscitation area; if there is a special complication, such as an airway problem, the anesthesiologist and or trauma surgeon may meet the helicopter on the roof as well; (6) trauma surgeons, board-certified in surgery, with a certificate of added qualification in surgical critical care, to treat the critically ill trauma patients in the resuscitation area; (7) a CT scan and portable X-ray units in the admission area that aid in the diagnosis of the injury; (8) operating rooms adjacent to the admission area for repair of trauma injuries; (9) a surgical intensive unit to care for the trauma patient; (10) a team of specialty physicians trained in a wide variety of specialties who work as a multidisciplinary unit caring for the hospitalized patient; and (11) an ambulatory outpatient unit that allows the patient to be followed in the center after discharge. Dr. R Adams Cowley incorporated each of these 11 components for an organized trauma center into Maryland. In recognition of his landmark contributions to trauma, the eight-story Shock Trauma Center was named the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
There is growing evidence that this organized system in trauma care seen in Maryland must be replicated in every state in our nation. The results of the Health Resources and Services Administration Report in 2002 show serious limitations in our nation’s organized approach to emergency and trauma care. This report indicates that many Americans do not have access to well-trained pre-hospital emergency personnel. Between 10 and 15% of the US population does not have access to basic emergency medical and communication services. Moreover, the presence of key trauma system components continues to vary throughout the country, most likely because of growing economic constraints. Emergency communication systems remain fragmented, and adequate training programs and protective equipment for health personnel remains notably absent. The threat of inadequate funding for the state manifests itself in the consistent uneasiness regarding the recruitment and continued retention of trauma care providers. Federal authorities must devise national emergency medical and organized trauma programs to save the lives of injured Americans.