“I liked hearing from the docs. They’re on the cutting edge for trauma,” says Washington County EMS paramedic Mark Rosenbaum, reflecting on his participation in the recent Memorial Hermann Ortho Trauma Symposium, held July 28, 2018, at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. Rosenbaum and two fellow Washington County EMS paramedics were among the 160 first responders, emergency personnel and nurses attending the event, which brought together fellowship-trained orthopedic traumatologists to highlight best practices in treating the polytraumatized patient.
Now in its third year, the symposium differs from similar events in that it is highly interactive. Affiliated Orthopedic surgeon Timothy Achor, MD, who was instrumental in developing the curriculum, says attendee engagement is a top consideration when designing the event. “We retain less information if we’re being lectured to,” he says. “So, we design the agenda to be alive, interactive and not scripted. The only slides we show are visual, with images such as X-rays and scenes.”
Rosenbaum says one of the things he appreciated most was hearing about cases from multiple perspectives – from the viewpoints of the patient, the EMS, the ER and the trauma surgeon. Two cases were presented in the morning, one about a star high school soccer player who sustained a fractured tibia after being tackled by an opponent, and another about a gentleman who suffered a hip/pelvis trauma in a bicycle accident.
In each case, the patient shared his or her story, the first responder described the scene, the attending ER physician shared the ER perspective, the trauma surgeon described the surgical procedure, and then everyone participated in a Q&A session about the case. Many of the attendees, particularly those who serve larger metropolitan areas like Houston, say they don’t often get to follow a case beyond delivery of the patient to the ER, so they enjoyed walking through the cases from start to finish.
Affiliated Orthopedic trauma specialist Milton “Chip” Routt, MD, says each year’s agenda includes sessions that are topical, current and relevant. This year’s symposium featured an active shooter case that included the patient, law enforcement officer, ER and surgical perspectives.
The morning sports injury case included a session on concussion considerations featuring neurosurgeon Arthur “Art” Day, MD, and James “Jamie” McCarthy, MD, Memorial Hermann Health System Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive, formerly Chief of Emergency Medical Services at Memorial Hermann-TMC. This topic was of heightened interest to Rosenbaum, who says numerous soccer and baseball tournaments take place in his service area (between Brenham and Austin).
A session was devoted to emergency response surrounding Hurricane Harvey, during which symposium attendees heard firsthand stories from first responders and medical personnel.
After lunch, participants headed up to the roof for Life Flight tours and participated in different education stations, on topics ranging from the latest in applying tourniquets and pelvic binders to spine extrication maneuvers and pediatric field considerations. And they were given the opportunity to “experience” driving under the influence through a drunk driving simulator.
For their participation in the day-long event, participants earned CEUs, but more important, it gave them the opportunity to learn something new that they can apply immediately to their jobs. “EMS and medical treatment are constantly evolving. That’s why continuing ed is so important,” says Rosenbaum. “Even though our department is pretty innovative, I always walk away with something new.”
The symposium offers a rare interaction between responders and trauma surgeons. Drs. Achor and Routt say they are extremely grateful for the prehospital care provided by the EMS community. The symposium, they say, gives them the opportunity to say thanks. “The symposium is about letting them know that we value our relationships with them and we want them to value their relationships with us, so that there's a functional symbiosis. We all prioritize patient care. We’re all working for the common goal. And we are all trying to get better at it,” says Dr. Routt.
Plans are already underway for the 2019 Ortho Trauma Symposium, to be held July 27, 2019, on the Memorial Hermann-TMC campus. Rosenbaum says his department plans to send three different members next year, so they can experience the event firsthand. Dr. Achor says the curriculum changes from year to year, to keep it fresh for repeat attendees and to align with the hot topics and issues of the day.
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