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R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Gala Honors Maryland's Emergency Care Providers

Friday, April 23, 2010

 The Shock Trauma staff and all who work with them were celebrated at an April 24 gala.

April 24 Event Highlighted Lifesaving Efforts in Two Trauma Cases

At this year’s University of Maryland Shock Trauma Gala, two trauma survivors personally thanked each of the more than 90 people involved in their rescue and recovery, illustrating in dramatic fashion how many people it takes to save one life. Each of these professionals, ranging from doctors and nurses to emergency dispatchers and physical therapists, received a “Hero Award” at the gala, which was held on April 24 at the Baltimore Convention Center. More than 1,700 people attended.

In addition to the Hero Awards, University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced that Dr. Sharon Henry will be the first Anne Scalea Professor in Trauma.  The endowed professorship is named in honor of the mother of Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center  As a member of the Shock Trauma team, Dr. Henry represents the ideals of Anne Scalea -- a passionate educator who valued family loyalty at a very high level.  Like Anne Scalea, Dr. Henry has always cared for those who have no one else to care for them. The $1.5 million endowment was made possible through the generosity of leadership gifts made by Dr. Scalea, Senator and Mrs. Francis X. Kelly, Mr. Peter Angelos and the University of Maryland Medical System.

Each year, the Shock Trauma staff selects two patient stories to retell at the gala, using interviews, 911 audio, video and photos. These stories demonstrate the dedication and expertise of the medical professionals honored at the gala, as well as the unique coordination between the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and Maryland’s EMS system, a model emulated around the world. This year’s patients include a Cumberland teenager who survived a devastating gunshot wound in a hunting accident and an Eastern Shore teenager trapped in her car after hitting a pole.

“At the gala, we will thank the 93 individuals involved in these two cases. However, in doing so, we will also honor the hundreds of other providers -- emergency dispatchers, firefighters, EMS providers, Maryland State Aviation Command personnel, nurses, physicians, technicians and rehabilitation therapists -- who dedicate their lives to saving Maryland’s most critically injured patients,” says Dr. Scalea. Dr. Scalea is also the Francis X. Kelly Professor of Trauma Surgery and the director of the Program in Trauma at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Forty-eight people received Hero Awards in the case of Devon Mallow, a 15-year-old from Allegany County who was critically injured when he was shot at close range during a deer-hunting trip in early December 2008. Mallow was riding with his cousin on an ATV when the rifle accidentally went off.

The first EMS personnel on the scene recognized the severity of Mallow’s injuries and called for a Medevac helicopter team, who struggled to keep the teenager from bleeding to death during the flight to Cumberland Memorial Hospital. The surgical team there worked to stabilize Mallow; the damage from the high-powered rifle had left him with a large open wound in his abdomen, damaging his stomach, pancreas and bowels. His condition was so dire that, after surgery, the team at Cumberland Memorial immediately placed Mallow in a helicopter to fly him 45 minutes to Shock Trauma. It was the first time they had ever needed to take a patient directly from the operating room to an awaiting helicopter.

In Baltimore, the Shock Trauma team whisked the teenager into surgery again within seven minutes of his arrival; one of nearly a dozen surgeries he would have during his recovery, including the removal of his spleen and left kidney. Mallow also had an acute lung injury and respiratory problems, which required him to be on a breathing machine for several days, and he needed orthopaedic surgery to fix his badly damaged arm. Despite several setbacks, the team at Shock Trauma worked to get Mallow back on his feet. After more than a month at the hospital, including Christmas and New Year’s Day, Mallow returned home to his family in Western Maryland. He is now an advocate for hunting safety.

“We call the Shock Trauma Gala ‘A Night for Heroes,’ and Devon Mallow’s story certainly shows why that is true -- one person cannot do it alone; it takes a team of well-coordinated medical experts to save a trauma patient,” says Karen Doyle, vice president of operations and nursing at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

“The perseverance of these trauma patients and their caregivers is truly inspiring. The gala gives us a chance to honor their courage and to thank the dedicated trauma doctors, nurses and other staff, as well as the thousands of emergency medical service providers throughout the state who do everything they can to help these patients recover," says Jeffrey A. Rivest, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The gala’s second case involves Kayla McCahan, a Queen Anne’s County college student who was home for winter break in 2009 when she was driving on a slippery road and crashed her car into a telephone pole. Paramedics on the scene got McCahan’s two friends out of the vehicle quickly, but 19-year-old McCahan remained trapped. With a Medevac helicopter on the way, her condition rapidly deteriorated as the rescuers worked for ten minutes to cut McCahan out of the car. She had trouble breathing, so the medics decided to perform rapid-sequence intubation, an advanced medical technique used to insert a breathing tube. Even with the breathing tube, McCahan went into cardiac arrest.

The ground team used medicines to get the teenager’s pulse back, but she went into cardiac arrest again on the flight to the hospital and a third time while awaiting a CT scan at Shock Trauma. Through the use of medications, CPR and chest tubes, the Shock Trauma team was able to get McCahan’s heart re-started; they then had to deal with the effects of the crash, including massive blood loss, a punctured lung and a brain injury so severe that the college student could not respond to even basic commands for several days.

After nearly two weeks of intensive care at Shock Trauma, McCahan moved to another facility, where she continued brain rehabilitation for another 10 weeks. She plans to join her brother this fall at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“The University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center honors the legacy of the late Dr. Cowley. He was a pioneering surgeon who worked to advance the concept of trauma as a unique form of illness. Success stories like the ones told at the gala reaffirm Dr. Cowley’s vision that an efficient, integrated trauma system and a team of well-trained medical professionals can have a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of patients and their families,” says Dean Reece, who also serves as acting president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Funds raised at the gala support the expansion of the Shock Trauma Center and the growth of its current training and educational programs.

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University of Maryland School of Medicine

 Dr. Thomas Scalea is Shock Trauma's physician-in-chief.

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