Cutting-Edge Trauma Medicine

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Memorial brings the prestigious Advanced Trauma Life Support course to the Coastal Bend, enabling area physicians to learn more about providing better care to critically injured patients.

By: Steven Alford
Photos by: Steven Alford

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When trauma patients are brought to the emergency room, it’s critical that trauma doctors have the latest technology and best practices at their fingertips. That’s why the trauma team at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Memorial has worked to bring the most advanced trauma course to South Texas, teaching local and state physicians the latest in cutting-edge trauma medicine.

The hospital recently hosted the Advanced Trauma Life Support Class (ATLS), which draws physicians from around the country to learn more about the delicate art of saving lives. Through his work with the ATLS of San Antonio and the Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council, CHRISTUS Spohn Trauma Medical Director, Dr. Osbert Blow, and his staff worked for more than four years to train local instructors and acquire resources to the bring the prestigious course to Corpus Christi.

“We are here to inspire and teach everyone to be better trauma providers and to do more to protect injured patients in our state, our country and our world,” Blow said between training sessions at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Memorial.

A plane crash in 1976 led to what is now an internationally adopted course from the American College of Surgeons aimed at teaching standardized initial assessment and management of the traumatized patient.

After orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Styner, and his family were seriously injured in a plane crash, the initial care they received exposed the need for a consistent, standardized approach in caring for victims of trauma. These findings led to the beginning of the ATLS course, which is now taught worldwide.

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Blow and his team at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital-Memorial continue that mission in the Coastal Bend, sharing their knowledge and the best practices of the ATLS course with other practitioners ultimately to provide better care to critically injured patients.

“Our mission is to reduce death and disability, related to trauma, injury and disaster through education, and well-planned and coordinated disaster and emergency response systems,” Blow shared.

And during the course in March, the CHRISTUS Spohn trauma team got a little help from Moody High School students who were invited to dress up as injured patients during actual training exercises with physicians. The young students got their own firsthand look at trauma medicine in action.

It’s the hope of Blow and his team that this inside peek into what emergency room physicians and nurses experience will inspire the next generation of trauma surgeons in South Texas. “When I got involved in medicine, I was about their age as well, and it inspired me,” Blow said. “I think courses and partnerships like these are imperative if we want to have a succession plan for future generations of health care professionals.”

CHRISTUS Spohn Health System is the region’s largest hospital system in South Texas, consisting of six hospital campuses throughout the Coastal Bend. The health system is consistently ranked a health care leader in the area, and it has received national recognition for several pioneering programs, including trauma, cardiac care, clinical excellence and oncology. For more than 100 years, CHRISTUS Spohn has been distinguished by its high-caliber staff and affiliated physicians, its comprehensive and innovative services and its long history of responding to the needs of the community it serves. For more information, visit www.christusspohn.org.

To learn more about the CHRISTUS Spohn trauma team, please visit www.christusspohn.org/traumaemergencyservices.

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