LifeFlight lightly touches down onto the rooftop skyport of Vanderbilt University Hospital with a 59-year-old Kentucky man who was badly injured in an automobile crash.
At this moment, this man’s spinal fractures, collapsed lung, multiple rib fractures, severe scalp laceration and hip fracture are the center of the world for the team of trauma professionals treating him. He is the most important person in the world to them.
But in another way, his case is routine, another one of LifeFlight’s more than 3,000 annual transports from within Vanderbilt’s Level 1 Trauma Center’s 65,000-square-mile catchment area.
In the Emergency Department another team of professionals assesses his injuries and starts basic treatment. After that, he is transported to the hospital’s 10th floor to spend several weeks in treatment in the Trauma Center.
His injuries are devastating, a defining event in his life and the life of his family, but to those not involved in the treatment of these extreme injuries, it can be hard to fathom how many trauma patients survive such terrible injuries. Yet, 10 years on, all of this seems routine for Vanderbilt’s Trauma Center veterans.

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ten years of trauma