SOUTH-WEST high school students yesterday came as close as they hopefully ever will to the inside an emergency trauma room.
The students were confronted with a dummy, whose ‘injuries’ represented a 19-year-old man involved in a high-speed crash on south-west roads.
Sue Smith, a clinical nurse specialist at The Alfred hospital emergency department, said the patient had a brain injury and his face was damaged.
“His face is smashed and that is probably from when his face hit the steering wheel,” she said.
“His face will never look the same again. He is a 19-year-old boy with dentures.
“Most trauma we can resuscitate you but we can’t completely fix you.
“We can’t fix the fact that someone might have died in the accident you were in.”
Ms Smith said many of the patient transfers from Warrnambool ended up at The Alfred.
“We see 10,000 trauma patients a year and 2000 of those are major trauma patients,” she said.
“Mostly they are young males and between 80 to 90 per cent have ended up there because of a particularly silly choice.
“We see lots of transfers from Warrnambool, particularly in the summer months.
“We don’t want you guys to be the one we’re talking about next time.”
Ms Smith said the program was worthwhile if it got through to just one young person.
“We’re not anti-alcohol and we’re not anti-fun,” she said.
“In the work we do it’s always worse when it’s someone young and it’s worse again when it’s not their fault.
“I find it really hard when I meet the families. They get to me.
“It’s harder the more years I do it.”
South West Healthcare nurse Michelle Meade said when a trauma patient was brought to the base a lot of the time staff knew the patient and family.
“It’s not just you who is affected, it’s your mum and dad, your boyfriend or girlfriend,” she said.
Brauer College year 11 student Indi Carter said the program was an eye-opening experience.
“You don’t realise how serious it is until you are confronted with it,” she said
“It has been really interesting. You don’t realise the injuries you can have just from being in a car.”
The Alfred hospital’s PARTY program (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) is aimed at senior school students, and the new PARTY outreach program was launched in Warrnambool.
Senior students and their parents were presented with a snapshot of the potentially traumatic, yet often-preventable, consequences of risky behaviour.