Categorized | Health

Efforts underway to improve island’s trauma care


Today (Jan. 29) marks the official first step in improving trauma care on the island. The inaugural meeting of the Big Island Trauma Advisory Council (BITAC), consisting of hospital leadership, physicians and emergency first responders from all regions of the island, is 9:30-11:30 a.m. at North Hawaii Community Hospital in the Mauna Kea conference room.

In 2005, the American College of Surgeons Trauma Systems Consultation Program reviewed Hawaii’s statewide system and provided recommendations for improvement for each hospital, service, and resource, including forming a regional trauma advisory council to address specific local issues.

In 2007, the Hawaii State legislature released funding through the Department of Health to organize the statewide trauma system, which facilitated the creation of the Big Island Trauma Advisory Council.

The council is charged with developing a systems approach for trauma care providers on the island. Funding from the Department of Health allows the council to help island hospitals pursue official trauma designation that is specific to each facility’s level of care.

The focus of the council includes:
* Improving and standardizing trauma care
* Improving transport times for trauma cases both on and off the island
* Optimizing specialty coverage such as orthopedics, neurology, surgery
* Educating youth and raising community awareness on preventative measures to avoid trauma

Hilo Medical Center has been designated at the lead facility in this initiative. In 2009, Hilo Medical Center established a Trauma Program, which includes:

* Program Administrator: Dan Brinkman – Hawaii Health Systems Corporation East Hawaii Regional Chief Nurse Executive

* Program Manager: Arthur Sampaga, Jr., RN, BSN, CCRN – Hilo Medical Center Cardiovascular/Emergency Service Nursing Supervisor

* Program Coordinator: Louise Fincher, RN, BSN, CCRN – Hilo Medical Center Emergency Department nurse for 10 years

In addition, program medical directors include Dr. Peter Matsuura for orthopedics, Dr. Daniel Hudak for surgery and Dr. Joseph Pollard for emergency medicine.

“Trauma is an equal opportunity injury,” said Dan Brinkman, Chief Nurse Executive for the East Hawaii Region. “It doesn’t matter if you are the richest or poorest; live in east or west Hawaii. Everyone is cared for in the same trauma system, which is why we must strengthen the current system and ramp up prevention and education efforts.”

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