Tag Archives: trauma

Four tips for safe Summer driving

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Drugs, drinking, distraction, and drowsiness are leading factors in motor vehicle crashes.

These risky behaviors result in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year, according to the American Trauma Society, which recognizes May as National Trauma Awareness Month.

Learn more at am trauma.org.
Learn more at amtrauma.org.

“Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of trauma,” said Dr. Colville Ferdinand, Trauma Chief at Georgia Regents Medical Center, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center. “From the CDC we know that every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving crash. But it’s not just drinking and drugs. More than one in six fatal car crashes involves distracted driving, and it’s disproportionately affecting our young people.”

Too often, drivers underestimate the risk. With Memorial Day on May 25 kicking off the summer travel season, Ferdinand recommends sharing these tips with drivers, especially teens, in your family:

1)  The roads are crowded this time of year, so pay extra attention.

The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest time of the year for teen drivers and their passengers. The 2015 Memorial Day forecast is expected to mark the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years, since 2005, according to AAA.

2)  Get some sleep before hitting the road.

In one study, 41 percent of drivers admitted they’ve fallen asleep behind the wheel. The cost? More than 100,000 crashes a year are the direct result of driver fatigue, according to an estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Men ages 18 to 34 are the biggest offenders.

Sleeping less than six hours a night can double your risk of being involved in a crash. Those who sleep less than five hours a night increase their risk four or five times, according to the American Trauma Society.

3)  Stay the night or call a cab.

Today, there are more alternatives than ever. Call a cab or ride-sharing company. Stay the night. Plan your options before a night of drinking and take along a designated driver. Drugs other than alcohol, including marijuana and cocaine, are involved in more than one in five fatal crashes.

4)  Put down the phone.

Sending a text – or even glancing at an incoming message – takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving 55 mph down the length of a football field blindfolded.

“Distracted driving happens anytime you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving,” Ferdinand said. “We see firsthand the injuries that result from those decisions. Interestingly, a full 80 percent of motorists say distracted driving is a serious threat to their safety, yet many of us still do it.”

More information

The American Trauma Society, in collaboration with the Society of Trauma Nurses, has more information about trauma prevention at www.amtrauma.org.


Augusta TV station wins state award for trauma center story

A two-part television news story taking viewers inside the Level 1 Trauma Center at Georgia Regents Medical Center on WJBF NewsChannel 6, earned the Augusta ABC affiliate the Best Feature Reporting award in the 2014 Georgia Associated Press Media Editors Broadcast Contest.

Reporter Mike Miller and Photographer Troy Robinson produced the special report, which aired May 1-2, 2013, during National Trauma Awareness Month. To capture the atmosphere of the trauma center, the two spent several nights in the Emergency Department waiting for trauma cases to arrive. They spoke to several clinical staff about their experiences with trauma patients and interviewed an Aiken man who attributes his survival of a deadly automobile crash to the life-saving care he received at Georgia Regents.

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of this award-winning story.

The Trauma Center at Georgia Regents Medical Center was the first in Georgia to be designated Level 1, signifying the highest level of trauma care available. It is one of just six Level 1 centers in the state.

Georgia APME is a state-level organization of the national APME comprised of newspapers and broadcast stations that are members of this news cooperative.



Enzyme helps stem cells improve recovery from limb injuries

BabanMasoumyandYuwebfrontWhile it seems like restoring blood flow to an injured leg would be a good thing, it can actually cause additional damage that hinders recovery, researchers say.

Ischemia reperfusion injury affects nearly two million Americans annually with a wide variety of scenarios that temporarily impede blood flow – from traumatic limb injuries, to heart attacks, to donor organs, said Dr. Babak Baban, immunologist at the Medical College of Georgia and College of Dental Medicine at Georgia Regents University.

Restoring blood flow actually heightens inflammation and cell death rather than recovery for many of these patients.

“Think about trying to hold onto a nuclear power plant after you unplug the electricity and cannot pump water to cool it down,” said Dr. Jack Yu, Chief of MCG’s Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “All kinds of bad things start happening.”

Baban and Yu are collaborators on a study published in the journal PLOS ONE that shows one way stem cell therapy appears to intervene is with the help of an enzyme also used by a fetus to escape rejection by the mother’s immune system.

Earlier studies indicate stem cells may improve recovery both by enabling new blood vessel growth and by turning down the now-severe inflammation, Baban said. The new study shows that indoleomine 2,3 dioxygenase, or IDO, widely known to dampen the immune response and create tolerance, plays an important role in regulating inflammation in that scenario. Stems cells and numerous other cell types are known to express IDO.

In fact, IDO boosted stem cell efficacy by about a third in their studies in animal models comparing the therapy in normal mice versus mice missing IDO. The researchers documented decreased expression of inflammatory markers, swelling and cell death, which correlate with a shorter, improved recovery.

That could be just what the doctor ordered for these patients, said Baban, the study’s corresponding author. “We don’t want to turn off the immune system, we want to turn it back to normal,” he said.

Problems start with even a short period of inadequate blood and nutrients resulting in the rapid accumulation of destructive acidic metabolites, free radicals, and damage to cell structures, Yu said. Cell power plants, called mitochondria, which should be producing the energy source ATP, are among the early casualties, quickly becoming fat, leaky, and dysfunctional.

“The mitochondria are sick; they are very, very sick,” Yu said. When blood flow is restored, it can put huge additional stress on sick powerhouses.

“They start to leak things that should not be outside the mitochondria,” he said. Without adequate energy and with leaky powerhouses, cells quickly succumb. Inflammation, which is part of the normal healing process, escalates to help clean up the mess, but instead further exacerbates the problem.

While their findings were in limb injuries, the researchers say they should translate to the myriad of scenarios resulting in reperfusion injury. In fact, in just a short two hours in the operating room, Yu has seen free flaps, where tissue is moved from one area of the body to another to cover a burn or rebuild a breast, start dying from ischemia reperfusion injury.

“It cuts across many, many individual disease conditions,” Yu said. Transplant centers already are experimenting with pulsing donor organs to avoid reperfusion trauma.

Next steps include seeing if more is better, by giving more stem cells – the researchers only gave one dose in the studies – as well as IDO-enhancing drugs, Baban said. This will include incubating stem cells with IDO, Baban said.

The researchers note that stem cell therapy isn’t yet used to help patients’ injured limbs recover, but is being studied clinically to aid stroke and heart attack recovery at MCG and other centers. Right now, the most physicians can do is restore blood flow and give broad-spectrum antibiotics.

“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” Yu said. “That is why this kind of pharmacologic intervention could be very, very important.

Endogenous stems cells enable the body to replace cells that are lost to wear and tear and aging. IDO is one of numerous immune modulators in the body. It remains unclear whether some individuals have higher IDO levels.

Dr. Mohamad Masoumy, a fourth-year general surgery resident at MCG and GR Health System, is first author on the PLOS ONE study.