AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – May is National Trauma Awareness Month, and two of the top trauma departments are right here in the CSRA.

Traumatic situations happen daily, and with it being national trauma awareness month, local departments share the importance of having a qualified and prepared team.

Dr. Richard Schwartz is the Dept. Chairman of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

He explained, “In the emergency department, we really take care of all emergencies, but the one thing that people don’t really think of is trauma.”

Trauma is the fourth leading cause of death for all ages in the United States, according to a trauma surgeons’ group.

“Time is of importance, and we have the golden hour. We have the platinum 15 minutes of care, and we really wanna try to provide the life-saving measures as early as possible for these patients,” according to Christopher Ruiz, VP of Trauma Services at Doctors Hospital.

There are two trauma centers in Augusta: Augusta University Health is a Level One trauma center and Doctors Hospital is a Level Two.

Leaders there say care starts from the initial point of contact and that’s in the field.

“And what that means is that’s the highest level of trauma care that a trauma center can deliver. So, really, it’s not just the commitment to clinical care; it also shows the level of commitment to research and education in trauma,” Schwartz said.

“We’re especially attached to our large burn center. We have different types of mechanisms of injury that come in from motor vehicle crashes, violent acts of crime, and burn type injuries. So with that kind of team approach – trauma care – we have multiple different resources and providers that come to render that care on that critically injured patient,” Ruiz said.

And Doctors Hospital trauma surgeon Dr. Courtney Pettiford tell us they never know what’s coming when a patient is brought to them.

“Trauma is one of those things where you don’t plan for it. It’s just something that happens to you.”

Trauma and emergency directors say it’s important to be ready, especially when they’re the first point of contact in your traumatic situation.