Date: September 6, 2019
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757, jebelt@mt.gov
                  Chuck Council, Communications Specialist , DPHHS, (406) 444-4391, (406) 461-8367, hcouncil@mt.gov

Trauma and Emergency Medical Services personnel to attend the 32nd annual Rocky Mountain Rural Trauma Symposium

On September 12-13 in Helena, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), EMS & Trauma Systems is co-hosting with the Central Region Trauma Advisory Committee, the 32nd annual Rocky Mountain Rural Trauma Symposium.

The Symposium starts at 8 a.m. at the Helena Delta Colonial Hotel on Thursday, September 12. Onsite registration is available for any interested healthcare providers who would like to attend.

About 300 trauma physicians, advanced practice clinicians, nurses and emergency medical services working in rural environments are expected to participate.

Considerable efforts have been made statewide to maintain development and delivery of continuing trauma education for all levels of providers. Presentations and subjects span a wide variety of trauma topics including pediatric trauma, brain injuries, lessons learned from the Las Vegas shooting, sports and rodeo injuries, burn care, and mandatory reporting requirements.

“Trauma is the number one cause of death for ages 1 to 46 years old, accounting for 47% of all deaths in this age range,” according to Alyssa Johnson, RN, MSN, Montana Trauma System Manager. “In fact, traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for children in the US and is the third leading cause of death for the whole US population.”

Trauma accounts for more years of potential life lost before age 75 than any other cause, including cancer or heart disease.

Johnson states that Montana has one of the highest trauma death rates in the nation. Due to the staggering epidemic of traumatic injury, Montana hospitals must be able to provide optimal care for the injured and to function within a regionalized system of care to facilitate rapid transfer to definitive care when appropriate.

The obstacles that health care professionals and patients face in rural areas are vastly different than those in urban areas. Rural trauma care in Montana is complicated by geographic isolation, time between injury and discovery, extrication issues, distance to immediate healthcare and local health care resource availability. Due to the vast distances between health care facilities in Montana, all pre-hospital providers and even some rural clinics must be prepared to provide initial care to injured patients while simultaneously expediting their transfer to definitive care.

“It is this level of preparation and organization that has been proven to reduce the number of preventable deaths and disabilities,” Johnson added.

The DPHHS Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems section is charged with the authority to plan, develop and maintain a statewide system of care coordination for patients suddenly stricken by serious traumatic injury.

“Getting to the right place at the right time to receive the right care is a matter of life or death for these patients,” Johnson said. “All hospitals involved in treating injured patients, particularly those in rural areas, should be involved in an inclusive trauma system.”

Currently, in Montana, 42 out of 65 hospitals are designated as trauma facilities.

For more information, see information on EMSTS Calendar.