The trauma service at Dell Children’s Medical Center is designed to provide the Central Texas community with comprehensive health care services for the injured child.

What Is the Trauma Service?

The trauma service is a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, nurse practitioners, nurses, registrars, social workers, child life specialists, injury prevention educators, therapists, researchers and support staff who work together to care for children who have suffered a serious physical injury.

The trauma service manages the treatment of trauma patients from the moment they are admitted to the hospital, through rehabilitation and entry back into their homes and communities. In this way, the trauma service ensures kids receive comprehensive care throughout their recovery.

The trauma service also houses comprehensive injury prevention and research programs. The Injury Prevention Program works within the Central Texas community to educate families on child safety and advocate for children at local, state and national levels. The Research Program facilitates investigation of new technologies, evaluates educational programs and drives changes in the clinical practice of trauma care. For more information on the research conducted in Trauma Services, please visit Dell Children’s Trauma and Injury Research Center.

What Happens When a Child Is Injured?

As the emergency department is notified that an injured child is in route to the hospital, a team specially trained in trauma care, including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, child life specialists, radiology and laboratory, is activated through a paging system. This team of dedicated trauma professionals responds to the emergency department and awaits the child’s arrival. What follows is a very organized approach to the care of the pediatric trauma patient.

Children admitted to the trauma service have expertly coordinated care that focuses on the individual as well as their family’s physical, emotional, and financial needs. Access to an impressive team of surgical sub-specialists, including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, urology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and oral and maxillofacial surgery, ensures proficient, pediatric-specific management of all injuries.

Once children are well enough to leave the hospital, the trauma service provides follow-up care through a multidisciplinary trauma clinic. The clinic’s goal is to meet all of the needs of injured kids and their families by bringing the providers to them in one location, thus eliminating the need for multiple appointments to the many specialists often involved in caring for the child.

What’s Special about the Trauma Service at Dell Children’s Medical Center?

  • Dell Children’s houses the only pediatric-specific trauma service within a 46-county service region.  Research has shown that children demonstrate improved clinical outcomes when treated by pediatric health care facilities with comprehensive trauma coverage.
  • Dell Children’s is the proud leader of Safe Kids Austin, a grassroots community organization made up of more than 30 local agencies. Safe Kids Austin provides ongoing child safety educational programs throughout Central Texas. Safe Kids Austin is one of more than 200 coalitions of the Safe Kids Worldwide network.
  • The trauma service maintains a comprehensive trauma database and scientifically analyzes injury statistics to identify areas of improvement for care of the pediatric trauma patient, and where injury prevention intervention is needed.
  • The trauma service provides pediatric trauma education for physicians, nurses and emergency response personnel throughout Central Texas.
  • The trauma service’s Injury Prevention Program works to lessen the burden of pediatric injury through provision of injury prevention education for the community, delivery of resources for patients, innovative research, and advocacy at the local, state and national levels to promote policies that protect children.  Areas of interest include:
    • Encouragement of the proper use of child safety seats, booster seats, seat belts, bicycle helmets, and other safety devices
    • Prevention of child abuse
    • Parent education to improve parental supervision practices
    • Educating children to make safe decisions independently
  • The trauma service trains resident physicians and provides continuing medical education through trauma grand rounds.
  • Research is a vital component of the trauma service. Areas of interest include:
    • The effects of risky alcohol use on pediatric injury, and evaluation of a program within the hospital to curb parent’s use of alcohol
    • Evaluation of injury prevention curricula and initiatives
    • Surveillance of pediatric injury in the Central Texas area
    • Examination of outcomes in children with severe traumatic brain injury