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Published on December 10, 2015

Altru Seeks to Improve Rural Trauma Care through Rural Trauma Team Development Course in Region

Grand Forks, N. Dak. – Members of Altru’s trauma team have established a relationship with Unity Medical Center in Grafton, N. Dak., to conduct a day-long trauma training course.  The Rural Trauma Team Development Course (RTTDC) was designed by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma to train rural hospital and clinic personnel in the team approach to the initial assessment and resuscitation of the injured patient and to rapidly initiate transfer to definitive care when appropriate. 

“Twenty-five percent of our service area is rural; of that, more than 60 percent of deaths from trauma take place in a rural setting. Our goal is to use this course with our partners in the region to reduce this statistic,” states Dr. William McKinnon, medical director of Altru’s Regional Operations. 

The course improves the care of the trauma patient in several ways:

  • Establishes a trauma team using the personnel and resources available at the facility

  • Develops a team approach to trauma resuscitation, stabilization and prompt transfer. The goal is to make a decision for transfer within 15 minutes.

  • Identifies key factors in organizing and preparing resuscitation area and equipment. 

The course also helps rural facilities understand the scope of services they may not have available (i.e., surgical, orthopedic, neurosurgical) and to develop predetermined transfer relationships with trauma centers that can provide those services.  Those involved in the course also go through three patient scenarios – single and multiple motor vehicle crashes and an all-terrain vehicle accident. It also provides training with special considerations for pregnancy, pediatric and geriatric populations. 

Course team members include: Dr. Randy Szlabick, general surgeon, Associate Program Director and Associate Professor of Surgery with UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Altru Health System and North Dakota State Trauma Medical Director, Dr. William McKinnon, emergency medicine physician and Medical Director of Altru’s Regional Operations, Dr. Kevin Mork, anesthesiologist with Altru, Leigh LaRoque, RN, BSN, Altru’s trauma program coordinator, Angie Vasek, RN, Altru’s trauma registry analyst, Eric Toutenhoof, NRP, Altru’s  EMS/CTC coordinator, and Robert Miller, RN, BSN, Chief Flight Nurse with Valley Med Flight. Altru has also established a partnership with Valley Med Flight to help facilitate the course.

About Altru Health System

Altru Health System is a community-owned, integrated system with an acute care hospital, a specialty hospital, more than a dozen clinics in Grand Forks and the region, a large home care network, and a congregate living facility. It employs more than 200 physicians and 4,000 staff and has an annual net operating revenue of more than $475 million.  As the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Altru’s providers have access to clinically integrated tools extending Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to patients.