One person already benefiting for the major trauma services is farmer Alan Hinch. He is lucky to be alive after his van was hit by a car on a rural road in Market Harborough on 5 September and he was left fighting for his life with injuries including a broken back, shattered pelvis, fractured hips and a collapsed lung. The 75-year-old was cut out of his van before being airlifted to the nearest major hospital able to deal with life threatening injuries.
This was the first link in a complex chain of life saving treatments which has meant Alan is here today.
University Hospital in Coventry is one of three hospitals being considered as adult Major Trauma Centres in the West Midlands. These specially designated trauma centres will receive the vast majority of severely injured patients, providing immediate access to Consultant delivered care 24 hours a day 365 days per year as well as advanced diagnostic scans and technology. This means patients like Alan get definitive trauma care from the moment they arrive at hospital.
On arrival at the University Hospital in Coventry Alan had a CT from his head to his knees, immediately diagnosing all his injuries and allowing the trauma team to prioritise his care. He was nursed in the critical care unit where their initial concern was that he might not survive. The following day he had emergency surgery to put a metal plate in his thigh bone to fix the fracture. He was in a coma for three days and stayed on the critical care unit for another 12 days.
Alan said: “The last thing I remember is the sound of the helicopter, the next thing was waking up in the critical care unit three days later.”
Dr Matthew Wyse , Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Lead for Major Trauma Service said: “At University Hospital we see about 300 major traumas each year. Patients bought here do not need to be transferred anywhere else because we have all the life-saving services on one site. Patients get faster access to scans and treatment which saves lives. Patients like Alan are in safer hands. Independent data from the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) shows that University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is currently one of the top performing hospitals in England, for every 100 severely injured patients, an extra three will survive in Coventry because of the expertise and facilities. Unlike other hospitals we have the CT scanner next to the resuscitation department in the Emergency Department so we can get scans faster. Every second counts when you have a patient with life threatening injuries.”
Alan has to be kept at constant angle of 30 degrees for the next three months to allow his shattered pelvis to heal. He knows he has a long road of recovery ahead of him but he is grateful to be alive.
“If I had gone to the nearest hospital, valuable time would have been lost and I am not sure whether I would have been here today to tell the tale. At University Hospital there are the people and the equipment all in the one place to do everything at once.”
The NHS in the West Midlands is proposing to transform the care people receive when they suffer major trauma by introducing an improved system of care across the region.
Major trauma is defined as serious injuries which are immediately life threatening such as major head or spinal injuries, amputations, multiple injuries, and severe knife or gunshot wounds. The creation of new trauma care networks will help patients by increasing survival rates, shortening recovery times and reducing disability from injury.
As part of the review four options are being considered. These are:
- Three major trauma centres – at the University Hospital in Birmingham, the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.
- Two major trauma centres – one at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and one at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
- Two major trauma centres – one at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and one at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.
- One major trauma centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Photo Caption: Patient Alan Hinch
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