*From left to right: Mike Butler, volunteer member; David Crossland, Company 49 (Clear Spring Rescue Squad); Jammi Bruno, volunteer member; Chancey Keefer, Company 49 (Clear Spring Rescue Squad); Marc E. Kross, MD, PhD, FACS*
A multiple vehicle pile-up, a freak fall, a shooting.
No one wants to think about traumatic events, but it is comforting knowing that a talented team of emergency medical responders, trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, a thoracic surgeon, and nurses specializing in emergency and trauma care are standing by 24 hours a day – waiting to serve our community.
For someone who has been severely injured in an accident, seeing the emergency medical professionals arrive on the scene gives hope and means that now the healing can begin. Although they are independent organizations, the region’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers and Meritus Medical Center work closely as partners, developing innovative strategies to help save lives and reduce the complications often associated with trauma injuries.
Trauma is any life-threatening occurrence, either accidental or intentional, that causes injuries. In 1981, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medicine Services Systems designated Meritus Medical Center as an area-wide trauma in the state emergency medical system. As a Level III trauma center, we offer around-the-clock access to trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic surgeons, and a thoracic surgeon, as well as a specialized trauma team and consulting physicians. Our operating rooms, diagnostic equipment and labs, and critical care unit all stand at the ready for any trauma situation.
Meritus Medical Center treats trauma patients from Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland, Berkeley and Morgan Counties in West Virginia, and Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania. Our experienced team responds to stabbings, firearm injuries, motor vehicle and recreational vehicle accidents, falls, and other traumatic injuries.
Arrival of the EMS vehicle triggers a series of trauma room events. In thirty seconds, the team physician gathers a critical medical report from EMS while the trauma team assesses the patient. Based on the team’s findings, treatment could include immediate intervention to open airways or stop excessive bleeding, additional diagnostic tests, or transport to an operating room.
Certified and trauma trained
Traumatic injuries require complex and immediate multidisciplinary care. Our trauma team consists of physicians, nurses, technicians, respiratory therapists, lab and radiology personnel, counselors, social workers, and rehabilitation therapists. Our board-certified general surgeons prioritize and make complex decisions with little time and limited information. Changes in trauma protocol and diagnostic tests drive the need for our physicians and nurses to complete additional trauma-specific continuing education courses every year. Every five years, the hospital’s trauma program is re-designated based on adhering to strict quality and compliance standards set by the state and the American College of Surgeons.
Emergency Psychiatric Services Counselors and Social Workers help patients and their families in the emergency department. Patients are greeted by an emergency psychiatric counselor who will assist in locating their family or friends, as well as providing supportive counseling.
Our continuity of care also extends beyond the critical care unit and surgical floor. We provide a full range of rehabilitation programs for patients with burns, amputations, crush injuries, and other traumatic injuries. Physicians, nurses, and therapists team together to craft individualized patient treatment plans. Meritus Medical Center’s Total Rehab Care is the region’s only rehabilitation provider accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. We believe that our job is not done until a trauma patient returns to a functional life.