By Martha Nottingham (Reprinted from the 8/27/13 edition of the Senior Citizens’ News)

Few words in our vocabulary possess the power to invoke a sense of foreboding as effectively as the word ‘trauma’. This term is used regularly in conjunction with expressions such as ‘injury’, ‘accident’ and ‘panic’. Regardless of our age or station in life, traumatic situations occur unexpectedly and most often result in the need for assistance. Response to this need is critical and can mean life or death to those experiencing health-related trauma. For this reason, Braxton County Memorial Hospital continues to comply with medical criteria and resource requirements necessary for designation as a Level IV Trauma Center through the WVDHHR Bureau for Public Health - State Trauma & Emergency Care System.  

Our local, community hospital initially achieved this status in 2005 providing the opportunity for BCMH to become involved with a state-wide trauma system that fosters good communication and working relationships with Emergency Medical Services and other healthcare facilities. A great deal of effort is required to maintain this status as was noted during a recent meeting of BCMH’s Trauma Committee. Following a site visit in June 2013, the committee reviewed strengths, weaknesses and recommendations as noted by the State Trauma & Emergency Care System. Nurse Manager for BCMH’s Emergency Department, Jill Cottrill, RN, was commended for coordinating these efforts while receiving assistance from Ward Clerk, Mary Rose, and Registered Nurse, Rebecca Cochran. Dr. Mark Waddell, ED Director / Trauma Medical Director, is also instrumental in ensuring BCMH’s continued Level IV trauma designation. (Note:  Mary Rose, Dr. Mark Waddell and Jill Cottrill are pictured on the previous page.) Expressing his gratitude for our hospital staff as well as local EMS personnel, Dr. Waddell states, “I really appreciate the dedication of our EMS. During a recent trauma call, they stayed on standby for a transfer in case air transport couldn’t be attained. ” 

Collaboration between first responders and the healthcare facility is critical to the individual or individuals involved in a traumatic situation. Through consistent communications, staff are better prepared for treating automobile accident victims, a young child bitten by a poisonous snake, or an elderly person who has suffered a serious fall. These recent occurrences represent only a small number of the untold scenarios that could justify a ‘Trauma Team Activation’. BCMH has implemented and shared policies with EMS in regard to initiating a ‘Priority 1 or Priority 2 Trauma Call’. Based on outlined criteria and the information provided by first responders, appropriate hospital staff are called to the Emergency Department to provide care to the injured. Hospital staff and EMS personnel have also received extensive training in addition to emergency physicians furthering their education to ensure that accident victims receive exceptional care.  

BCMH’s willingness to go the extra mile to serve the community in a unique way is demonstrated by our ongoing efforts to maintain our Level IV trauma designation. This status also helps us fulfill our vision of ‘serving as the gateway for the healthcare needs for the citizens of Braxton County and the surrounding areas.’ Ben Vincent, BCMH Administrator, states, “I am very proud and thankful for all those who work to maintain this status. Although it may seem like a struggle at times, the success stories make it worth the effort. We have good people, doing good work at Braxton County Memorial Hospital.” Dr. Waddell adds, “We are geographically located in the heart of the state, but we are the heart of care in the state as well.” For additional information regarding services at Braxton County Memorial Hospital, visit our website at braxtonmemorial.org or call (304) 364-5156. We are privileged to continue ‘Caring for you close to Home’.”

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