ONLY ON TEN: LGMC’s trauma program looks to become trauma center

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Every 5 hours, 36 minutes and 11 seconds. That’s how often Lafayette General Medical Center gets a call for an incoming trauma case. Those doctors and nurses designated specifically for trauma said they’re doing all they can for the most critically injured in Acadiana. The goal: to have the patient stabilized in 15 minutes.

“If it’s managed well, a trauma patient, we only have them about 15 to 20 minutes. Our goal is to stop the bleeding,” said Jayme Smalley, Director of Emergency and Trauma Services.

“A trauma patient would really be made up of patients who are injured either from a blunt physical trauma, penetrating trauma, stab wounds, gunshots wounds, even burns and potentially even drownings and hangings,” said Dr. Michael Peebles, Medical Director for the Emergency Department.

According to Peebles, Lafayette General Medical center has the only level two trauma program in the region. It’s been in place for three years.

“The EMS will preferentially transport the most critically ill patients to us so that we can care for them as quickly as possible,” Peebles said.

The trauma response team then goes into action. The team is made up of three emergency department registered nurses, an ICU nurse, an emergency room tech, an emergency department physician, a laboratory for the blood bank and a radiologist on standby. They’re all in a the room kept at a balmy 85 degrees.

“We always cover our patients with warm blankets. We always give them warm fluids because we don’t want them to get cold. It causes bleeding problems and other things further down the continuum,” Smalley said.

After the trauma team stabilizes the patient, Smalley said that patient usually will head to surgery. With current technology, the team can follow the patient’s progress and monitor their outcome.

“We see so many people who now because of the trauma program survived their injuries and they leave and go back to the community to their friends and family and loved ones,” Smalley said.

Lafayette General Medical Center currently has a trauma program. They’re looking to become a trauma center. They say they have all of the pieces in place. They’re just waiting on the official trauma center certification visit in April 2018.

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