By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
About the only thing emergency room nurses, doctors and paramedics know for sure is that there is a good chance during their shifts they will be faced with a life or death situation.
Such is the nature of the job for medical trauma professionals.
Friday, at the Meridian Community College Multipurpose Building, emergency medical professionals from across the state gathered for the first annual Trauma and Emergency Medicine Symposium. This symposium was designed for all disciplines involved in the management of trauma patients, including physicians, mid-level providers, nurses, pre-hospital personnel and other interested health care providers.
The sessions were to provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and stimulate discussion on a variety of trauma topics. Speakers from several areas of trauma care were on hand to provide updated techniques and procedures to aid the professionals in dealing with trauma cases.
"We are concentrating on the patient of a trauma situation and how we, as medical professionals, can better meet the needs of the patient more quickly and efficiently," said Chris Lafferty, director of the MCC Emergency Medical Service-Paramedic program. "The procedures, techniques and medicines are constantly changing and we have to keep up with those in order to provide the patient with the best care possible."
Charlotte Robinson and Stephanie Cooper were two emergency room RNs from St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson that attended the symposium.
"I would have to say the most vital improvement I've seen over the years is the communication aspect between the paramedic in the field and us at the emergency room awaiting the patient," said Robinson. "We can get better care through the communication system so that when the patient gets to us we have a better chance to save a life."
Cooper said the ER nurse and doctor have to be well versed in a wide variety of possible cases. She said for the most part St. Dominic's Hospital deals with heart attack and stroke victims but dealing with a gunshot victim or patient from a severe traffic accident is always a possibility.
"We are just one of the steps a patient has to go through on their way to recovery," Cooper said. "It all starts with how well the patient is cared for the vital minutes after the trauma has occurred."
Lafferty said when it comes to trauma cases, the difference in the health of a person can be measured not in minutes but in seconds.
"If we can enhance our skills to the point they are as sharp as possible we can save more lives which in turn will give the patient a much longer, more enjoyable quality of life," Lafferty said. "The things we learn in symposiums such as this really do matter. They can make a huge difference."
Lafferty said 110 medical professionals attended this inaugural event. He said more such symposiums will be upcoming. This event was sponsored by the East Central Mississippi Trauma Care Region and MCC.