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Trauma Care that Goes Above and Beyond

TraumaA patient was rushed to Lowell General with a severe head injury that was causing bleeding into the brain. Time was ticking. The rapid response of the trauma team and physicians made the difference between life and death that day.

"The patient needed immediate surgical intervention – a craniotomy – to relieve the pressure that was rapidly building up in the
brain. In such an unstable condition, the patient could not be transferred to another facility but without treatment the odds of survival were not good," explains Vanessa Barrett, RN, CEN, trauma program manager. "Most Level III trauma centers – which we are – don't have the resources to perform this type of surgery."

Thankfully, Lowell General has gone above and beyond state- and nationally-mandated requirements of a Level III trauma center and had advanced resources in place to save this critically injured patient's life.

"Our experienced neurosurgical staff arrived quickly, were able to perform the craniotomy and the patient was able to return home," Barrett says. "We're fortunate to have sophisticated resources here in addition to a committed team of trauma surgeons. Specialists in the fields of neurosurgery, vascular surgery and interventional radiology aren't required of a Level III trauma center, however having these physicians available has saved lives and limbs, as well as enabled patients to be treated faster, locally," she adds.

Another recent case in point:
"A patient walked into the emergency department after being crushed by a very heavy object," Barrett relates. " the triage nurse couldn't detect a pulse in the patient's wrist, indicating there was no blood flow to the arm."

"Imaging detected a bone break and more critically, a torn artery," she continues. "If not treated immediately, the injury could have caused loss of life, if not the limb, from lack of circulation to the arm."

Vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists successfully repaired the severed artery at Lowell General Hospital.

"We see between 450 and 550 trauma patients each year, so we're being called upon to manage these types of life-and-death situations every day," Barrett adds. "that's a depth of experience and expertise in which the Merrimack Valley community can feel confident."

As a Level III trauma center, Lowell General Hospital can provide life-saving treatment and stabilization when seconds count. Reducing time to treatment and providing immediate intervention makes the difference between life and death. With a team of first responders including paramedics and ambulance teams, Lowell General is able to assemble the medical teams and physicians for incoming trauma cases and further reduce the time to treatment.

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