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CNN Today

Survive Your Drive: Inside the Loyola University Hospital Trauma Center

Aired August 25, 2000 - 2:04 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: All day long, we are bringing you special coverage which could save your life on the road. We call it "Survive Your Drive." The idea is to talk about the dangers of the road and how advancements in medicine and technology can help save lives.

This hour, we begin with CNN's Jeff Flock, who's at the trauma room at Loyola University Hospital in Chicago -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie. We have been looking up close and personal at the whole trauma process here today and we are in the trauma room, which is ground zero.

Dr. Mark Cichon, who runs it all, what are we seeing in here?

DR. MARK CICHON, ER DIRECTOR, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Basically, you're seeing all the equipment that's absolutely necessary for the initial evaluation of a trauma patient. We have the ability to assume their airway, breathe for them, provide circulatory support, evaluate disabilities, get them exposed and start the process of the evaluation.

FLOCK: Just give me a quick tour. Let's walk around the room and tell me what this is. What's this, first of all, real quickly? What's this, what's this, what's this?

CICHON: Ultrasound, so we can take a quick look in your abdomen, see if you need to go up to the OR right now; monitoring devices to monitor blood pressure, oxygenation, heart beat, blood pressure. We have additional blood pressure devices, suction devices, oxygen support on the wall. We have the ability to intubate with the equipment here. We have emergency surgical trays that are available on the cart here. The cart itself is in a warm scenario to keep the patient's body temperature warm so they don't have problems with hemorrhage. Narcotics that are available, paralytic drugs that are available, medications to take over anything that we feel is absolutely necessary for the patient.

FLOCK: It's all right here. If I come in in a car wreck, this is where I go.

CICHON: This is where it is. The only thing we don't have here is blood, and that's sent up directly during that process. FLOCK: Now, I know one of the things that you get, the first things in terms of diagnostic that you get -- and I want to talk about a couple of those real quick -- is you get from the paramedics -- I never knew this -- they take polaroids out at the scene, yes?

CICHON: Right. They take, usually, two pictures: one of the actual vehicle damage, and then one of the internal compartment on the vehicle. And what that provides the physicians here is it reduces the amount of variability in description. We see this, I know I know exactly what we're looking for, mechanism of injury, location. Here's a car that's struck from the side, similar to the events that we discussed this morning. We look for injuries to the neck, injury that side of the chest.

And internal compartment tells us if it's a bent steering wheel, if there's glass broken, if the air bags are deployed, the seats broken, gear shift has impaled somewhere. All these things are important to us at a moment's notice.

FLOCK: The next thing you do in here is often X-Ray. And I want to bring in Dr. Terry Demos, who has got an example of some trauma over here for us. Obviously, one of the things you want to do is quickly assess what the trauma is and how bad a situation you got. What kind of a situation do we have right here?

DR. TERRENCE DEMOS, RADIOLOGIST: Computer tomography is used to evaluate the internal organs for injuries that are not obvious or detectable by talking to the patient on physical examination.

FLOCK: What are we looking at?

DEMOS: This is a computer tomography study of the abdomen in a patient who had trauma. And this patient has a fracture of his spleen, just like a fracture of the bone, except it's spleen. And here's the spleen, here's the fracture. This is active bleeding, this is blood adjacent to his spleen in his upper abdomen.

FLOCK: So you've got blood in the spleen, what do you do?

DEMOS: This patient also had blood in his pelvis. And although he was stable, he had active bleeding and was taken to surgery.

FLOCK: So you needed emergency -- make an emergency move. That's what this is about.

DEMOS: That's correct.


I want to do two things before we get away. One -- we had some requests to give this information again -- in terms of the crash rates of various states, what are the safest states to drive in and the, perhaps, the most dangerous states to drive in? First, the states with the highest crash rates, they measure it by 100 million vehicle miles -- crashes per 100 million vehicle miles. The most dangerous states, by the National Safety Council's numbers, Mississippi, with 2.9 crashes per 100 million miles; Montana next; South Carolina next, followed by Arizona, Arkansas and Nevada.

What are the safest states? Interesting to note that it's Massachusetts -- per 100 million vehicle miles, less than one crash; New York 1.1, as well as New Hampshire, Connecticut, California and New Jersey; and New Jersey at 1.2 -- your safest and most dangerous states by request.

Last word to a person we sometimes see depicted on television: the ER nurse.

We know what you look like on television, but what does a real ER nurse go through? We watched you all day today manage the trauma that comes through here. What is your life like?

AMBER SPENCER, ER NURSE MANAGER, LOYOLA UNIV. MEDICAL CENTER: Our life can be very stressful at times. The nurses here at Loyola, we expect quite a bit out of them, not only from a trauma perspective, but taking care of other critical patients.

FLOCK: Why do you do what you do?

SPENCER: The nurses here at Loyola, we feel that we do what we do because we enjoy getting satisfaction that the family receives from the type of care that we're able to provide here for them.

FLOCK: Good. Amber, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

We want to thank everyone at Loyola University Medical Center today for all of their help in portraying a day in the life of folks that fight trauma.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live from Maywood, Illinois.

ALLEN: All right, Jeff, thanks to you.



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