Trauma Awareness Month: Don’t Drink and Drive


May is Trauma Awareness month at Northwest Texas Healthcare System wants people to be aware of what Northwest does and why people should remember to always drive sober.

Northwest is the only designated Advanced Level 3 Trauma Facility in the Panhandle, which means that they are able to respond and treat many different emergency situations. Northwest services a 150-mile radius catchment area, which includes 5 states: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado. Northwest has air medical transportation services known as LIFESTAR, that provide specialized emergency care for patients. 

Driving safe requires alertness and the ability to make quick decisions. Drinking and driving, along with drugs and speed impacts alertness and the ability to make quick decisions in rapidly changing situations. These have a profound effect on driving skills, concentration, reaction time, vision, and coordination. It is estimated that more than 10,000 young people in the US are killed and 40,000 are injured in auto accidents while alcohol is involved. 2017 state of Texas accident report states that there is a crash every 59 seconds with 1 person being injured in a crash every 2 minutes and 1 person being killed in a crash every 2 hours and 21 minutes. 

On average there are 1,500 admissions per year of trauma patients at Northwest.

Blunt injuries are injuries caused by an object striking or hitting the body. Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of blunt type trauma, followed by falls and physical assaults. Blunt trauma can occur to any part of the body. Penetrating injuries are injuries caused by an object piercing thru the skin into the tissue, creating an open wound. Examples include: gunshot wounds and stabbings. In 2018, Northwest Texas Hosptial saw 1262 Blunt Type injuries and 139 penetrating injuries.

Northwest is the first facility in the panhandle to offer ECMO technology. ECMO also known as Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, is a lifesaving machine that mimics the natural function of the heart and lungs. With ECMO, the patient’s blood is pumped out of the body where it is infused with oxygen, carbon dioxide is removed and it is returned to the patient. Candidates may include people with reversible organ damage, from illnesses such as respiratory failure, sepsis, blood clots, and pneumonia. 

Northwest Texas Healthcare System
1501 S. Coulter

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