VCU Health holds 17th annual trauma symposium

Photo by: Joe Johnson
Photo by: Joe Johnson
Photo by: Joe Johnson

The VCU Health Department of Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgical Services and Center for Trauma and Critical Care and Education presented the 17th annual Rao R. Ivatury Trauma Symposium in Downtown Richmond on March 23.

The VCU Trauma center is the oldest state-designated level one trauma center in Virginia and has held its ACS verification since 2005.

Symposium attendees had backgrounds in a variety of specialties such as geriatric medicine, cardiology, orthopaedic surgery and pediatrics. Many of the speakers at the symposium were leaders in medicine from VCU Health but some came from other locations such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Harvard Medical School.

Medical Director of the VCU Trauma center and Chair of the Symposium Planning Committee Michael Aboutanos said the symposium program was started by Chief of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency Surgery doctor Rao Ivatury when he was chair of the trauma center.

“It was mainly just called the trauma symposium,” Aboutanos said. “When I took over Ivatury’s position in 2013, it was very clear to me that we have to name the symposium after him.”

During Ivatury’s tenure as Chief of Trauma, the VCU Trauma Center became an American College of Surgeons verified level one trauma center. The VCU Trauma Center now receives approximately 4,300 patients annually and is also state designated as level one by the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services.

“The hospital educates our nurses and residents but that is limited,” Aboutanos said. “(The purpose of the symposium is to educate) not only the region but to bring national caliber physicians, nurses and administrators and to share that experience.”

Trauma Program Manager Beth Broering said other levels of trauma centers can usually provide some aspects of that care but they don’t typically have the resources to provide the care to a patient along the entire continuum.

“We have all the specialists. For example, no other hospital in this region could actually do pediatrics and burns at the same time,” Broering said. “We are the only trauma center in the state that has both burn and pediatric trauma programs integrated.”

State designations are based on municipal or state criteria which may vary by state. However, the ACS verification process is more stringent because it requires the presence of a specific set of resources in the center.

Joe Johnson, Contributing Writer


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