JBSA-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
The Joint Trauma System, or JTS, of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston “has been the driving force of so much change in military and civilian trauma surgery,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jennifer Gurney, trauma surgeon and Trauma System Development chief at the JTS.
Gurney added that changes in trauma care were made possible through data collected from more than 176,000 trauma records from the overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in which clinical practice guidelines were created at the JTS for deployed healthcare providers, as well as educational opportunities from current trauma cases.
To continue enhancing trauma care, Gurney formed an educational program called “Case Records of the JTS” launched at the Military Health System Research Symposium in August. The program was developed to review, teach and remember the challenging cases encountered by deployed military trauma surgeons. The motto of this initiative is “So that the lessons learned are not forgotten.”
“The lessons learned are incredible,” Gurney said. “I think that going forward as the operational tempo decreases that there’s a lot of benefit to looking at the management of these challenging cases from the point of injury all the way back to the care in the states.”
The inauguration of “Case Records of the JTS” was co-moderated by Gurney and retired Army Col. (Dr.) John Holcomb, a former USAISR commander, who presented challenging cases to the panel of surgeons from multiple military services as well as allied nations.
The panel prospectively discussed the clinical management of combat wounded patients by highlighting the unique aspects of combat surgery, the lessons learned and the importance of a systems-based practice approach to combat casualty care.
“The cases all come directly from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry,” Gurney added. “I’ve gone through cases in the registry, solicited from surgeons who have deployed and some interesting cases that I’ve had on my deployments and making case files for the program.”
Gurney’s intent is to have this program held at other military and civilian meetings and conferences because she believes that this initiative is beneficial to trauma surgeons in the military and civilian sector.
“Trauma is trauma anywhere and we have to be innovative,” she said. “I believe that it’s incredibly beneficial to hear other surgeons and to know how they think during certain situations and how they problem solve under challenging circumstances, whether a military or civilian trauma surgeon.”
So far, the program has had positive feedback and Gurney has been invited to moderate sessions at three separate military and civilian meetings later in 2016 and 2017.
“I hope that this is something that sustains into the future so that we can continue to learn and support the warfighter,” Gurney said.
The mission of the Joint Trauma System is to provide evidence-based process improvement of trauma and combat casualty care, to drive morbidity and mortality to the lowest possible levels and provide evidence-based recommendations on trauma care and trauma systems across the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, is collocated at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
The USAISR’s mission is to provide combat casualty care medical solutions and products for wounded warriors, from self-aid through definitive care across the full spectrum of military operations and to provide state-of-the-art trauma, burn, and critical care to Department of Defense beneficiaries and civilians.