The medical staff at UC Davis Medical Center uses lessons learned from the military to prepare the level-one trauma center.
“We have four embedded Air Force trauma surgeons, so there are five or six of us with a lot of experience dealing with these mass-casualty events,” Dr. Joseph Galante said.
Galante is a Navy veteran. He says military doctors learn a different approach on how to handle an overwhelming number of patients.
“Mass-casualty events force you to shift your mindset from what’s good for one patient to using your resources for what’s good for the most patients,” he said.
With that in mind, Galante says it’s best for trauma hospitals to have one experienced doctor assess and direct patients as they come in to the hospital after a mass-casualty event.
“I am just the gatekeeper, distributing patients to the operative side, and to the non-operative side,” Galante said. He says that increases the hospital’s effectiveness during chaotic situations.
While having a level-one trauma center nearby is a huge asset, recent mass shootings have shown how critical first-aid training can be for people without medical or emergency backgrounds.
The Stop the Bleed campaign was created after the Newtown, Conn. Shootings, which took the lives of 20 first-graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Stop the Bleed encourages people to learn how to apply pressure, dress an open wound and create a tourniquet to stop bleeding before first responders are able to arrive on scene.
“Hopefully you never need to use those skills, but those skills can be used to save someone’s life,” Galante said.