Trauma is a leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with accidents and unintentional injuries accounting for 224,935 deaths in 2021. With such a high prevalence of trauma, it’s crucial for healthcare providers and emergency response personnel to be equipped with the latest research, information and best practices to swiftly and effectively respond to traumatic accidents and incidents to provide lifesaving treatment on the scene and in the hospital.
Bringing that knowledge to the Rio Grande Valley’s healthcare providers and first responders, the South Texas Health System Trauma and Critical Care Institute hosted its third annual South Texas Advanced Symposium on Trauma & Critical Care from August 9 to 11. More than 200 physicians, registered nurses, healthcare providers, first responders and members of law enforcement attended the three-day event, which covered the most up-to-date research and best practices on relevant trauma and critical care topics.
During the symposium, nationally renowned speakers touched on a variety of topics including pediatric care in emergency rooms, brain injuries, how the border wall affects injuries, firearm injuries and federal legislation on medical screenings.
Tanya Zakrison MD, MHSc, MPH, FRCS(C), FACS, and professor of surgery at University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, who presented on the pitfalls in the management of firearm injury, said it was important to hold events like South Texas Health System’s symposium in places like the Rio Grande Valley because too often, they are only held in large metropolitan areas. “Traumatic events don’t just happen in big cities, so a conference like this is key to bringing different people together and providing important education to healthcare providers and first responders. We need to support our colleagues across the country,” said Zakrison. “This conference is very unique because it is so multidisciplinary, and that’s what makes it so impactful for us as participants and speakers.”
STHS McAllen trauma surgeon Dr. Carlos Palacio, who developed and launched the South Texas Advanced Symposium on Trauma & Critical Care, said the goal of the event is to educate as many people in the community as possible. “We’re providing the community with as much education as we can,” said Dr. Palacio. “In doing so, our goal is to improve the trauma system and the overall delivery of care to trauma patients in the Valley.
“Having medical professionals from various parts of the country helps provide great insights that stem from each of their experiences and helps provide enriching education locally,” Palacio said. “Their experiences are our starting point, so that we can apply those principles here in the Valley.”
In addition to a full day of enlightening presentations, the event included two days of pre-symposium continuing education courses, including Mental Health First Aid, Stop the Bleed, an Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) refresher and a skills and web cadaver lab for first responders.