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Trauma

Trauma scene

Photo: Nation Wong

It could happen to you

There is one thing that doctors want people to know: that trauma doesn't happen only to others—it could happen to you. Each year, it happens to more than 1,300 people who are brought to Sunnybrook.

What is trauma? Apart from non-discriminating, it is a serious life- or limb-threatening condition where each second counts. It’s the teenager who drank too much and thought it would be cool to corkscrew into the—as it turned out, shallow—pool. It’s the man who was stabbed during a fight over nothing very important, in the end. It's the worker who wasn't wearing a harness when he lost his footing and plummeted three stories onto concrete. It’s the woman who was texting while crossing the road and got hit by a car whose driver was likewise engaged.

It is graphic and devastating and irrevocable.
It is not pretty. It is mostly preventable.

At Sunnybrook, it’s a strategic priority. Twin pillars of care and research support it. It starts at the scene, with our partners in prehospital medicine, who stabilize and get injured people here stat. Once here, the trauma team assesses and resuscitates the patient. There can be upwards of a dozen medical professionals from a mass of specialties tending to one person. As that person continues his or her journey, likely to the OR, possibly to the ICU, almost certainly to rehab, the circle of care widens.

This trauma issue aims to show how each piece of this care has been informed by research and, every day in the field, trauma bay and throughout the hospital, continues to be informed by it. Research is changing practice here, regionally and around the world. It is having an impact. More patients are surviving their injuries. The bad news is that a return to a good life is not a sure thing. Even non-life-threatening trauma is life altering. That's why researchers are not content to pause, instead recognizing that much remains to be done along the spectrum of prevention, treatment and rehab.

Welcome to the trauma issue of the SRI Magazine.

Table of contents

You only get one shot

You only get one shot
When it comes to transporting a severely injured patient to hospital, there are no second chances

Blood not so simple

Blood not so simple
Preventing trauma patients from bleeding out is one of the most challenging tasks a trauma team faces—but so is ensuring they don't get lethal blood clots

Putting Humpty back together

Putting Humpty back together
Orthopaedic trauma surgeons repair badly broken bodies and are changing practice through their work

Mild brain injury?

Mild brain injury? That’s a misnomer
Yes, there are degrees of severity when the brain is hurt, but concussions can have life-altering repercussions

A fine balance

A fine balance
For patients vulnerable to developing sepsis while in hospital, how to balance the need for antibiotics against prudence in the face of increasing microbial resistance? Two docs take up the challenge

Inside trauma at Sunnybrook

Inside trauma at Sunnybrook
Photos from the front line

All POCUS, no HOCUS

All POCUS, no HOCUS
Bedside imaging, also known as point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), is emerging as a powerful, evidence-based tool in the ER

Undaunted

Undaunted: journey through trauma
One man’s story of survival and healing

A matter of perspective

A matter of perspective
Study illuminates surprising source of collisions