Medical City Healthcare - March 02, 2018

New North Texas pre-hospital trauma team saves man's life on its first field call.

The lifesaving onsite amputation of a construction worker's leg in Frisco by a team of experienced ER and trauma physicians demonstrates the value of pre-hospital trauma care in North Texas. Medical City Plano received its Level I Trauma Center designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services in May 2017. Newer yet is the team that was assembled for just such a real-world incident in a joint effort between Medical City Plano, Medical City Frisco and local EMS and firefighters. Known as the Pre-Hospitalization Amputation Team, it was called on for the first time during the Frisco construction accident when it saved the life of a man who had become caught in a commercial trencher, his right leg completely trapped in its chain-saw-like teeth.

Fox 4 News article - lifesaving surgery to free trapped construction worker

The team had been put together just six months earlier at the request of Collin County firefighters. They had identified a need for the service due to the increasing number of ongoing construction sites in the area and the potential for injuries the sites present.

Firefighters arrived on the scene within five minutes but were unable to free the man's leg. They called Mark Gamber, DO, an emergency room physician at Medical City Plano, who put in a call to trauma surgeon Al West, MD. The two doctors were helicoptered to the site with their Pre-Hospitalization Amputation Kit.

Dr. West, who performed the operation, said that there was no choice but to amputate above the knee. After the 10-minute procedure, the patient was stabilized and transported in the helicopter to Medical City Plano. For the latest update on his condition, read the full story on DallasNews.

For Dr. West, this was his first experience with field surgery.

"In the civilian world, it's pretty uncommon to go out and do something like this," he said.

Trauma is a team sport.

Having the team in place shaved at least an hour off the time it would normally have taken to treat the patient. Dr. West said it was very likely he would have bled to death while he waited.

"The real takeaway is the preparation by the local fire departments and the MCP trauma service for just such an emergency," he said. "Process improvement is what good trauma care is built on. Trauma is a 'team sport' and I am incredibly proud of the team of professionals we have put together here."

Learn how to stop the bleed in any trauma situation.

Roughly 10,000 Texans are killed each year from injuries, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. The National Trauma Institute lists traumatic injuries as the leading cause of death in persons aged 1 to 46 years old.

Trauma injuries can take many forms, from construction accidents to ground level or high falls to mass shooting incidents. Knowing how to stop bleeding in someone who is critically injured is a valuable skill that could save the life of someone you love. Visit Stop the Bleed for more information.

For fast, emergency service in any crisis situation, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free, 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

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