Shock and horror at trauma talk

SURGERY: Neal Gunn with a "trauma victim"

SURGERY: Neal Gunn with a "trauma victim"

BENDIGO students have been exposed to the horrors of road trauma as part of a confronting shock safety program. 

According to the organisers of the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth program, trauma is responsible for the deaths of 40 per cent of people aged 15 to 25.

Many more are left disabled by injuries.

Alfred Hospital Trauma Service nurse Jen Thompson, who has spent 20 years in emergency departments, said families were often torn apart by traumatic incidents.

“Every new trauma that comes through has got a family and significant other attached to it,” she said.

“Nurses and doctors love putting people back together; they love the excitement of it all.

“That part of it isn’t so much what confronts you, it’s more the impact it has on friends, families and schools.

“(I’ve been) standing at the bedside where you’ve got two families at loggerheads because a young person has killed the other one.

“There’s actually nothing you can do to take that pain away.”

Particularly disturbing are the incidents that could be avoided.

“The ones that always stick out for me are the preventable ones,” Ms Thompson said.  

“The ones where someone’s made a really dumb decision and it’s killed either them or their friends.

TRAUMA: Students in action

TRAUMA: Students in action

“Or even worse than that are the ones where they’ve actually maimed their best mate, put them in a wheelchair or given them a traumatic brain injury and they’ve ended up in nursing home.

“They have to live with that for the rest of their lives.”

The talk focuses on reckless driving, drugs, alcohol and assaults.

Participants have access to mock emergency wards with dummies as patients, which students have to treat.

Alcohol is used to simulate the smell of an operating room, and audio tracks and video are also used.

“They can actually feel what it’s like to be involved in trauma,” Ms Thompson said.

“Hopefully we can prevent them from taking risks that will lead to traumatic injury in themselves and their friends.” 

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