Care teams perform Dell Seton’s inaugural trauma drill

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STAR Flight, trauma pros practice for new teaching hospital opening

The trauma care team at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas teamed up with Travis County STAR Flight for its inaugural trauma drill, a training exercise to prepare clinicians for the medical situations when every second counts.

“This will be the only level I trauma center for our 11-county region in Central Texas. So this really is where most severely injured emergency patients in this area are brought,” said Dell Seton Trauma Chief Carlos Brown, MD. Seton is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

The drill is in anticipation of 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 21, when historic University Medical Center Brackenridge will close its doors, except for its psychiatric emergency department, and Dell Seton will simultaneously open its building to patients that morning. Until then, Austin residents are advised to go directly to UMC Brackenridge for emergency care.

A carefully coordinated trauma exercise

The timed drill started with STAR Flight’s team and helicopter, loaded with a mock patient, taking off from the helipad at UMC Brackenridge. The helicopter then landed on Dell Seton’s new dual helipad.

Dell Seton’s trauma team met STAR Flight personnel on the helipad, and then both crews rushed through the hospital’s dedicated trauma elevator to the emergency room, located on the lower level.

“We’re training on a helipad that’s six stories higher than before, which makes things safer and provides a better escape route,” said Willy Culberson, STAR Flight’s Director of Aviation. The helipad at UMC Brackenridge was close to street level, which made things riskier and more challenging due to pedestrian traffic, Culberson said.

A training ground for the future of health care

“We will also be focusing our partnership and efforts with Dell Medical School to not only provide excellent care in our hospital, but also to perform academic research,” said Debra Hernandez, Dell Seton’s Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Nursing Officer. Dell Seton is one of four Seton teaching hospitals, where medical students and new doctors will hone their physician skills.