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Mercy Stories: Life-Saving Trauma Care

Sep 13 2018
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Why Mercy Health serves rural areas, like Irvine, KY

Matt Young had just graduated from Estill County High School and was looking toward his bright future at Eastern Kentucky University as well as joining the Army Reserves.  A few hours after he had left for a friend’s house one evening, a knock on the door brought news that every parent fears.

Matt had crashed his vehicle and suffered severe head trauma.  He was clinging to life.  The first responders took him to the level four trauma center at Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital.  The hospital is just a few minutes away from the location of Matt’s accident, in the small central Kentucky community of Irvine where Matt lives.

Studies show that traumatic injuries are more fatal in rural areas across the nation than in urban areas, and minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Without a trauma center like the one at Marcum & Wallace, seriously injured patients in the Irvine area would have to be transported by ambulance to a larger medical center more than 45 minutes away. Because Marcum & Wallace wanted a better option for their community, they developed a certified trauma program.

Bringing a certified trauma program to Irvine, KY

Two important partnerships had to be solidified before the trauma center could become a reality.  First, donors were needed to provide critical funding toward the cost of the program.  Second, larger regional hospitals were needed to provide critical care and surgery after patients are transported by helicopter from Marcum & Wallace.

Thankfully, both partnerships were quickly secured. Donors and grant-makers to the Marcum & Wallace Hospital Foundation provided the funding for the trauma center project, which was especially helpful in building a helipad on the hospital grounds.

A well-equipped emergency department houses the level four trauma center at Marcum & Wallace.  Trained physicians and nurses provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) to evaluate, diagnose and stabilize injured patients so they can be safely and quickly transferred by helicopter to a higher level trauma center. The on-site helipad is located just steps away from the trauma center.

A life-saving center

Matt Young’s story could have had a very different ending if Marcum & Wallace’s trauma center hadn’t been available for him.

“They saved his life by getting him stabilized and on the helicopter to Lexington for surgery,” said Matt’s mother, Pam Young.  “The dollars contributed definitely paid off. I just want to thank everyone who has contributed. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for our hospital and first responders.  You don’t think about it until it’s you, your family, someone you love.”

Matt was only in the hospital for two weeks instead of a few months, and, he is on his way to a full recovery.  He is back at his university and spending one weekend a month in training with his Army Reserve unit.  After college, he will fulfill his lifelong dream—serving his country with a career in the United States Army.

When you donate to Mercy Health through our Foundation, you become part of something larger than yourself, something that will help your family, friends and neighbors live better and healthier lives and provide life-altering outreach to the poor and vulnerable in your community. If you are interested in donating to the Foundation, click here.


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