ETSU Health’s trauma team is saving lives

Published 9:28 am Thursday, March 14, 2024

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After the regional alignment of trauma care, ETSU Health’s trauma surgeons are saving more lives while caring for more patients with severe injuries.

That’s affirmed by an article soon to be published in the American Surgeon, a peer-reviewed journal from the Southeastern Surgical Congress.

The article examined a matter of community interest – patient outcomes after the alignment of the region’s most serious trauma care at Johnson City Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center, a part of the Ballad Health Trauma Network.

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ETSU Health’s Dr. J. Bracken Burns is the senior author on the project. After the regional alignment of services, he said the trauma team treated more patients, older patients, and more critically injured patients than in the same period before consolidation.

“The major take home message is that mortality after the alignment was lower for patients at the highest risk,” Dr. Burns said. “Highest risk patients are those who need an operation within the first 24 hours and admission to the surgical intensive care unit.”

The nine trauma surgeons serving the Level 1 Trauma Center are all ETSU Health providers. Dr. Burns is JCMC’s Trauma Medical Director and Professor with the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine.

First author Dr. Matt Heard is a resident physician of ETSU Health Surgery. He presented the article, “Effects of Trauma Center Consolidation on Adult Trauma at a Rural Level 1 Trauma Center”, at the February SESC annual meeting in Florida.

Fellow authors include ETSU Health’s Dr. Sheree Bray and Quillen medical students Allen Archer and Payton O’Quinn. Assisting the team were Ballad Health researchers Hannah Collins and Matthew Leonard.

With 30 clinical sites and more than 300 health care providers, ETSU Health is on the front lines of efforts to improve the health of Northeast Tennessee by offering leading-edge health care in dozens of specialties.