The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care
Catherine Musemeche, M.D.
Genre: Medicine / Medical History
Date of Publication: September 6, 2016
# of pages: 268
The heroic story of the invention of trauma care, from
battlefield triage to level 1 trauma centers
Trauma is a disease of epidemic proportions that preys on the young, killing more Americans up to age thirty-seven than all other afflictions combined. Every year an estimated 2.8 million people are hospitalized for injuries and more than 180,000 people die.
We take for granted that no matter how or where we are injured, someone will call 911 and trained first responders will show up to insert IVs, stop the bleeding, and swiftly deliver us to a hospital staffed by doctors and nurses with the expertise necessary to save our lives. None of this happened on its own.
Told through the eyes of a surgeon who has flown on rescue helicopters, resuscitated patients in trauma centers in Houston and Chicago, and operated on hundreds of trauma victims of all ages, Hurt takes us on a tour of the advancements in injury treatment from the battlefields of the Civil War to the state-of-the-art trauma centers of today.
PRAISE FOR HURT: THE INSPIRING, UNTOLD STORY OF TRAUMA CARE
“Musemeche’s fast-paced medical history mixes the gritty reality of treating life-threatening injuries—including her own heart-pounding experiences as surgeon—with an unfettered optimism about what trauma care can now promise: an assurance that most people will survive even a devastating injury.”
“Hurt is a fascinating journey through the history of trauma care in this country. Musemeche’s unique ability to weave moving, personal stories with intriguing facts takes this book well beyond a great read. It is an education in the human spirit.” —Paul Ruggieri, MD, author of Confessions of a Surgeon and The Cost of Cutting
Spinal Cord Injury: The Unplugged Power Main
By Catherine Musemeche, M.D.
About a month ago we got an early morning call that our friend Tim had broken his neck in a bike accident in LA. He was on a bike path, wearing a helmet and following all the rules when another bike came at him head on going the wrong direction. Tim was forced to veer off the path and into a fence. And that’s when it happened. His third cervical vertebrae, the shock absorber of the neck, couldn’t take the impact and snapped. Tim fell off his bike still clipped into his pedals and knew instantly that something was wrong because he couldn’t feel his hands or feet. Passerby came to his aid immediately but Tim was alert enough to tell them, “Don’t move me. I might have a neck injury.”
And that’s the way injury happens. It comes out of nowhere when we’re minding our own business on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and totally disrupts our life. Injuries are a part of daily life that we will never escape. There is no vaccine we can take to prevent them. There is no medicine that will magically make them go away. Once we get hurt we’re going to have to find a way to heal, just like the rest of the 2.8 million people in this country who are hospitalized every year for traumatic injury.
The spinal cord is the power main of our bodies. When it gets bruised, broken or severed it’s like the cord’s been unplugged. Almost always we will suffer some degree of paralysis temporary or permanent. And it’s a long slow process to get the power up and running again. If we damage just a single nerve in our bodies it can takes weeks to months to regenerate. Think of the spinal cord as a bundle of hundreds of nerves. There’s a lot golng on in even a tiny sliver of it, hundreds of complicated nerve impulses crisscrossing in a tight space signaling when to move, to feel, to breathe.
Tim was in the ICU for a week and then started inpatient rehab where he’s been for three weeks. He was finally able to type his first email night before last. Yesterday he walked thirty steps with assistance. He still has a long way to go but the way things stand right now, Tim’s one of the lucky ones and he knows it.
More on spinal cord injury in HURT, Chapter 13 “The Road Back.”
Dr. Catherine Musemeche is a pediatric surgeon, attorney and author who lives in Austin, Texas. She was born and raised in Orange, Texas and attended Lutcher Stark High School. She is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, The University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, The Anderson School of Management in Albuquerque, New Mexico and The University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas. Dr. Musemeche is a former surgery professor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, the MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute and the University of New Mexico where she was the Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Trauma. She currently works in the field of regulatory medicine.
In addition to publishing extensively in the medical literature, Dr. Musemeche has been a guest contributor to the New York Times. Her writing has also been published on NPR.org, KevinMD.com, in the anthology At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die and in the Journal of Creative Nonfiction. Her first book, Small: Life and Death on the Front Lines of Pediatric Surgery was nominated for the Pen American/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award and was awarded the Writer’s League of Texas Discovery Prize for nonfiction. Her second book, Hurt: The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care will be published in September of this year.
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