May is National Trauma Awareness Month. That's why we sent Mike Miller out to see how trauma doctors are saving lives.
"Anybody can be in a car accident at any time, anybody can fall at any time, you don't know who that is, so it could be anybody. And to have it so close here and able to provide for the CSRA, It's a huge benefit to our medical community," says Trauma Surgeon Steven Holsten.
It was definitely a benefit for 22-year-old James Holiday. Back in 2010, Holiday was involved in a car accident that almost killed him. He was airlifted to Georgia Regents Medical Center, where trauma doctors performed a drastic procedure to keep him alive.
"While at the hospital, they were like well, there's the miracle child right there because, I mean, the lord really blessed him just to get him through that. I mean. One doctor said I was at death's door. When I hear a doctor say that I'm like wow. And I came through. That is unbelievable," says Holiday.
Doctors opened up Holiday's head to decrease the swelling of his brain. The scars on his head tell his story, although, he prefers to call them stars. A way to remember the critical surgery that saved his life.
According to the CDC, the number one cause of death for people ages 1 through 44 is from trauma. Across all ages, trauma is ranked third. About 80% of trauma injuries are from blunt trauma, including car accidents and falls. The other 20% are from penetrating wounds like gunshots and stabbings.
Georgia Regents doctors are savings lives every day... including patients who are clinging to life as soon as they are brought in.
"One of the most memorable and one of that I am most proud of is we had a young patient who was shot through his chest with a bullet wound through his heart. And we were able to revive him and he is alive today because of the things that we did here at the trauma center," says Chief of Trauma Surgery Colville Ferdinand.
And doctors are finding new ways to save lives without even operating on patients by using non-operative management for trauma patients.
"I will toot our own horn here for a minute. I mean, our mortality, meaning how many patients die from trauma, is lower than the national average here. So we are doing a good job," says Holsten.
Doctor Ferdinand says that those who are not within 50 miles of a trauma center have a mortality rate that is 20% higher than the national average. When you look at this map of level 1 trauma centers in our area, you will see some parts of Georgia and South Carolina are not within that range, which makes having a level 1 center here in the CSRA that much more important.
"I've worked all over the US and Augusta is really lucky and you know, it's not just Augusta, it's the whole surrounding area. We get people flown in all the time from South Carolina and South Georgia and a lot of people don't realize how lucky we are," says Staff Nurse Maura Bailey.
Although he had to be treated to find out... Holiday knows how lucky
"I couldn't even imagine being anywhere else and the level of progress that I got at GRU, I mean, I can't even imagine being anywhere else but there," says Holiday.
The Georgia Regents Trauma Center and WJBF News Channel 6 want to encourage viewers to be careful while driving – do not text and drive, and do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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