As you and your friends or family head out to enjoy activities during the winter season, it’s important to use your head – or more specifically, protect it. That’s the message Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) trauma and critical care surgeon Rovinder (Bob) Sandhu, MD, with Surgical Specialists of the Lehigh Valley – Allentown, wants to share. “In my line of work, I care for patients who have suffered some type of catastrophic injury,” he says. “While we can help restore many people to ‘near normal’ after they’ve sustained a serious injury, one of the most troubling injuries we encounter is a head injury.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a head injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. In 2010 alone, 2.2 million people nationwide sought emergency care for TBI. This type of injury includes bumps, jolts or blows to the head or an injury that penetrates the skull. While TBI symptoms may eventually go away, this type of injury also may cause long-term damage, including memory or thinking impairment, personality change, or loss of vision or hearing.
Falling is the leading cause of head injuries. “Nationwide, falls are responsible for more than 40 percent of TBI emergencies, a rate of injury we also see here,” Sandhu says.
While falls are a year-round problem, during the winter you may encounter situations that put you at higher risk for a fall – and that’s where your advance awareness and preparation comes into play. Read More
Participants in a news conference Wednesday announcing the new IFAK were emergency medicine physician Jeff Kuklinski, DO; Deb Otto, director of donor resources for Miller-Keystone Blood Center; Mike Wargo, administrator for LVHN’s department of public safety and emergency operations; and Allentown Police Department officer Chris Hendricks.
Police chiefs and officers from Allentown, Bethlehem, South Whitehall Township and Salisbury Township gathered yesterday outside the Mattioli Trauma Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest to demonstrate a new tool that will enhance the safety of our community.
In the coming weeks, every police officer and tactical medic in those four areas will receive this tool – called an IFAK (individual first-aid kid) – courtesy of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Each IFAK, worn on an officer’s or medic’s belt or chest, includes a chest seal (for penetrating chest wounds), Israeli pressure bandage, QuikClot (to prevent hemorrhage) and a tourniquet (to stop bleeding).
“If we truly want to keep people healthy and safe, we have to give our first responders the tools they need to save not only their own lives, but potentially the lives of the people they are sworn to protect and serve,” says Mike Wargo, RN, administrator for LVHN’s department of public safety and emergency operations.
IFAKs can be used to assist an officer who needs care, to assist a fellow officer, or to help a civilian (or civilians) in a critical incident. In the case of a life-threatening incident, the tools inside the IFAK help to provide lifesaving care while providing extra time for emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to arrive on the scene.
Robert Barraco, MD, a board-certified critical care surgeon with Surgical Specialists of the Lehigh Valley, is passionate about taking care of patients in dire need.
“You have to establish that relationship very quickly and be able to give them your best at a time that may be their worst,” he says.
He also loves educating the community about injury prevention.
“It’s all about that relationship with the community, because that’s where injury prevention starts,” he says. “That’s where we can do our most, is in the community.”
Get to know him with this video.
Part of caring for patients means helping them stay connected to their extended circle of friends.
Lehigh Valley Health Network is a leader in creating the best patient experience. That’s why we offer CarePages, an online resource to help patients keep in touch with their family and friends while they are in the hospital. With CarePages, you can create a personal profile so people know why you are in the hospital and get an idea of how you are doing; send updates to family and friends; post photos of your road to recovery; use a private e-mail address so you can control who receives your updates and views your photos; and compliment your care team. Patients can access the CarePages tool on lvhn.org.
One year ago, Kevin Becker was fighting for his life inside Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest’s Mattioli Trauma Center after suffering a serious fall at East Stroudsburg University. Not only is Becker now back to school, he’s reaching new heights. The athletic 22-year-old recently not only completed the half-marathon at the Lehigh Valley Health Network Marathon for Via, but he finished 12th overall at a time of 1 hour, 29 minutes, 29 seconds. Afterward he met up with one of his doctors, physiatrist Wayne Dubov, MD, who also competed in the half-marathon and finished in the top 40, seven minutes behind Becker. “It was a great day, and catching up with Dr. Dubov afterward was a great moment,” says Kevin’s mom, Jeanmarie Becker.