“Good enough” is never enough at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin adult Level I Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital. Every year, we build on our research efforts to improve treatment and outcomes for the most severely injured patients. At the only adult Level I Trauma Center in eastern Wisconsin, a devoted team cares for patients with traumatic injuries caused by a range of external forces, such as falls, motor vehicle crashes and gun violence. Every patient who comes through the doors has access to highly trained doctors and advanced traumatic injury protocols. 

“If a pedestrian is hit by a car because of aggressive driving, we have 24/7 resources to treat a brain injury, chest injury, pelvic injury and more with our team of “always on” neurosurgeons, trauma surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and a host of other specialists,” said Marc de Moya, MD, trauma surgeon, Medical College of Wisconsin

Marc de Moya, MD

faculty member and chief of the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. “People who don’t have a trauma center within reach could experience care delays. They may not receive cutting-edge treatment, including access to advanced support systems like extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and heart-lung machines.” 

Dr. de Moya compares the Trauma Center staff to a racing pit crew. The trauma “crew” works like a well-oiled machine to quickly and accurately assess injuries and immediately provide evidence-based care. The team also invests in performance reviews, where any patient complication or death is carefully studied to identify opportunities for improvement. 

“We had another successful year in research, with more than $2 million of grant funding and more than 60 publications in our division,” Dr. de Moya said. “We will now participate in three national clinical trials exploring how to improve the care of patients with traumatic brain injuries, and how to use whole blood and improve outcomes for patients with hemorrhagic shock. Whole blood use is based on data derived from the last decade of military experience.” 

An important goal is to prevent traumatic injuries through continued advocacy and education. Trauma Center staff are committed to community and government engagement. They support policies and legislation to minimize factors like gun violence and aggressive driving. 

Follow-up is key to successful recovery from traumatic injuries, but patient compliance can be a challenge. The Trauma Quality of Life Clinic connects patients and their families with treatment and resources to recover from the aftermath of their injuries. Care is coordinated among physicians, surgeons, clinicians, social workers, physical therapists and trauma psychologists. 

“This clinic reduced the patient no-show rate from 45% the year before its inception to 12% after it opened,” Dr. de Moya said. “More patients are getting the care that they need.” 

Care at the Trauma Center extends to staff involved in direct patient care, as well as those working behind the scenes to provide support. In this fast-paced, demanding environment, all of them can be under an inordinate amount of stress each day. Care must start at home, especially when home is a Level I trauma center. 

“Teamwork is such an important part of what we do,” Dr. de Moya said. “It’s a very positive work environment. People support each other. We work through problems together. We’re there for each other through crises. We have peer support. This kind of work environment is vital for decreasing burnout and serving our patients with the highest level of care.”