News & Events
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Trauma System celebrates 20th anniversaryThe Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System (BREMSS) Trauma System had its twenty (20) year anniversary on October 2, 2016. The trauma system enrolled its first trauma patient at 9:25 am on October 2, 1996 by Homewood Fire Department.
Since that date, 44,746 trauma patients have been placed in the BREMSS trauma system by paramedics and hospitals in the BREMSS region. Based upon early studies that demonstrated a twelve percent (12%) reduction in trauma deaths by the system, it could be estimated that over 5,369 individuals have had their lives saved by the BREMSS trauma system since 1996.
The system was a BREMSS initiative supported by the hospitals across the BREMSS six-county region. The original planning group was co-chaired by Dr. Robert Carraway (Carraway Methodist Medical Center) and Dr. Richard Treat (UAB Hospital), ably assisted by Dr. William Hardin (Children’s of Alabama). The system uses a concept which was originally used in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon; conceived by Dr. William Long of Emanuel Hospital and designed/implemented/operated by Multnomah County EMS.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham provided the startup funding of $500,000 for this voluntary trauma system. A trauma system implementation operations committee was formed and guided the “early years”. This group representing all BREMSS hospitals was co-chaired by Dr. Loring Rue (UAB Hospital) and Dr. Robert Carraway (Carraway Methodist Medical Center).
The Trauma Communications Center (TCC) has been in operation 24/7/365 for the twenty (20) years. The TCC links all trauma hospitals together, receives information from paramedics “on scene”, and routes all trauma patients to the “real time”, currently available trauma hospitals. Staffing was originally one (1) Paramedic and is now three (3) Paramedics at all times.
Many doctors, nurses, paramedics, and hospital personnel planned, supported, and caused the system to be the success it is today. A few of the additional, notable individuals involved in the BREMSS Trauma System:
Frazer Rolen – Alabama Hospital Association/Birmingham Regional Hospital Council
Dr. Sherry Melton – UAB Hospital Trauma Services
Geni Smith, RN – Children’s of Alabama Trauma Services
Holly Waller, RN – UAB Hospital Trauma Services
Dr. Peter Glaeser – Children’s of Alabama
Dr. Jorge Alonzo – UAB Hospital
Celia Dover, RN – Carraway Methodist Medical Center
Herm Brehmer – Medical Center East (St. Vincent’s East)
Oscar Brenen, EMT-P – Birmingham Fire & Rescue
David Waid, EMT-P – Regional Paramedical Services
Rex Chilton, EMT-P – Trauma Communications Center
Buddy Wilks, EMT-P – Trauma Communications Center
Frank Brocato, EMT-P – Hoover Fire Department
Dr. Bart Guthrie – UAB Hospital Neurosurgery
Dr. Patrick Pritchard – UAB Hospital Neurosurgery
Dr. Jeffrey Kerby – UAB Hospital Trauma Services
And many others
The BREMSS trauma system was totally voluntary and funded only by all hospitals in the BREMSS region until 2007. This funding by hospitals in BREMSS continues today along with grants from the Alabama Department of Public Health for Statewide efforts. The system received national recognition in 2006 upon receipt of the Mitretek/Harvard award for the most innovative Homeland Security program in the United States. Governor Bob Riley determined the BREMSS trauma system should be statewide and the State Health Officer, Dr. Donald Williamson, enlisted BREMSS’ guidance and assistance, and the Trauma System is statewide today with over sixty-eight (68) hospitals participating in Alabama and surrounding states.
Since 1996, in the BREMSS region as well as statewide, the trauma system has served more than 113,867 patients.