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Sunday July 21st, 2019 11:35PM

Teenage trauma survivor, medical team speaks at annual Trauma Symposium

By Alyson Shields Reporter

Hundreds of people working in emergency response in Hall County, including firefighters, EMTs, doctors and nurses, learned more about local and regional trauma response, including injury management, different trauma response programs and heard from a trauma survivor and his care team who treated him at the second annual Trauma Symposium

The teenage trauma survivor, identified as TJ, was seriously injured in a car accident on Dawsonville Highway and Sardis Road in March 2017. He suffered numerous injuries, including a concussion, varying fractures, contusions, and an intercerebral bleed, among other injuries.

Three members of his team, Dr. Charles Richart, Dr. Allison Dupont and Nicole Moulder, ACNP, discussed why they chose to use a controversial treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, to treat his case.

Nurse practitioner Moulder was called in when another NP needed a second opinion. "I walked in to the room and he was on multiple sedation drips, trying to keep him down, he was breathing 40-45 times a minute, really working with the ventilator. His mom and aunt are sitting bedside looking absolutely exhausted and we're getting nowhere," Moulder told the audience. "So I looked at him, looked at our attending surgeon - he'd been up with him all night long ... and I said, 'This kid needs ECMO.' That's taboo. We'd never had a trauma patient on ECMO and it requires a lot of heparin, the ECMO at Northeast Georgia is fairly new and I didn't know where to go except phone a friend." She then turned to Dr. Dupont for further advice on using the treatment, which hadn't been used at the hospital before.

"I was concerned about ECMO because he did have that brain bleed, I didn't want him to hemorrhage... but if we didn't get this patient oxygenated, he was going to have multi-organ failure," said Dupont. 

Richart and Dupont explained the ECMO process and the challenges and benefits that faced them in TJ's case. In six to eight days, Richart said TJ's lungs began to respond. He was then able to move on to the next step in his recovery. 

At the end of the panel, TJ came up on stage to thank his care team, as well as tell everyone how he was doing now. "This is one of the biggest challenges I've had to overcome. It's harder than high school," he said. "I'm glad I made it. I've had three months of rehab, now I'm pretty much back to normal... thankfully. Thank you guys."

The symposium Friday was held all day at First Baptist Church in Gainesville and featured 12 speakers, as well as vendors and opportunities to meet with different emergency response teams. Programs on Stop the Bleed, injury and wound management and other topics closely related to first responders and medical personnel.

The symposium was hosted by the Northeast Georgia Regional Trauma System. 

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