Maryland’s groundbreaking shock trauma center remains uniquely effective

Maryland was far ahead of its time when, in the 1960s and 70s, Dr. R Adams Cowley developed the nation’s first and only integrated trauma hospital that now bears his name in Baltimore City.

Now, as the new Critical Care Tower is being built at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, advocates are reminding city and state business leaders of the unique resource in their midst as they seek continuing support for the expanding facility.

“We have a safety net nobody else in the country can replicate,” Marianne Rowan-Braun, vice president and director of the fundraising campaign to support the new Critical Care Tower, told members of the GBC’s President’s Advisory Council on Feb. 7.

Through a partnership with healthcare centers and police departments around the state, no person unfortunate enough to find themselves in a traumatic situation is more than 45 minutes by helicopter from the Shock Trauma Center, Rowan-Braun said.

The only free-standing trauma hospital in the country, the Shock Trauma Center, a part of the University of Maryland Medical system, treated 8,378 people last year, 60 percent of which arrived due to motor vehicle crashes, according to Rowan-Braun. However, because Maryland has a team of trauma specialists working 24/7, Shock Trauma was able to save 97 percent of its patients.

Physician-in-Chief Thomas Scalea, M.D. looks to expand what Shock Trauma can offer as well as the amount of patients it can treat comfortably with the new Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower. Completion of the project is estimated for 2013.

The Tower will increase the number of beds – something the hospital desperately needs – but will also allow for more research and education.

Currently, Shock Trauma has the largest Critical Care Fellowship in the country, educating more than 300 students, according to Shock Trauma. International partnerships have allowed Dr. Scalea to travel to India, Italy and beyond to help other countries with their own trauma facilities. Through its military education initiative through the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Rehabilitation Skills, more than 3,000 active military men and women have been trained during the last 10 years.

More information on the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and its fundraising campaign.