Critical Care for Our Community
When TraumaOne began in 1983, it was the first trauma program in the state of Florida. Today, it is still the only adult and pediatric Level I trauma program in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
Our qualified team consists of UF Health trauma surgeons, nurses and others with extensive training in caring for trauma patients. Unlike other hospitals, our surgeons and other health care experts in areas such as neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopaedic trauma surgery and cardiothoracic surgery, to name a few, are available on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More Than Meets the Skies
TraumaOne consists of five components:
The Trauma Center is separate from the Emergency Department and has five designated bays to receive trauma victims. It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with health care providers specially trained in emergency, trauma and critical care. This team consists of trauma surgeons, physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, nurses and other highly trained professionals.
Our primary service area includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. However, TraumaOne serves a much broader area, including counties in Southeast Georgia. Motor vehicle crashes, motorcycle crashes, falls, pedestrian injuries and other accidents account for nearly 75 percent of trauma cases each year.
UF Health TraumaOne flight crews consist of pilots, flight nurses and paramedics. These nurses and paramedics have extensive training and years of experience in caring for trauma patients. Conversely, the pilots have no medical background at all. This is by design.
The pilots' decisions must be made purely on their aviation experience. They are not given details of an accident until after they have accepted the call and determined it is safe to fly to the scene based on FAA regulations. This practice prevents pilots from making emotional decisions.
In 2013, UF Health TraumaOne added a third helicopter and implemented a new policy to dramatically cut down on our response time. Instead of basing our helicopters at UF Health Jacksonville, we have strategically placed them around the region ready to fly at a moment’s notice. Locations include Flagler Hospital in St. Johns County, Yulee in Nassau County, and Lake City Regional Airport in Columbia County.
The UF Health TraumaOne communications staff dispatches helicopters within a 120-mile service area. They accept all rescue calls for the hospital and notify the trauma, emergency or pediatric emergency team of incoming patients and their conditions. Additionally, the team plays a vital role in MCIs (mass casualty incidents), serving as a link between the emergency preparedness team; Trauma Center and Emergency Department; city government; and local agencies such as police and fire and rescue departments.
Trauma Prevention and Education
UF Health Jacksonville's Trauma Prevention Program began more than 20 years ago to educate children and parents on important safety topics in an effort to reduce the number and severity of injuries. Each year, 15,000-20,000 people are educated about injury prevention through lectures, mock simulations, health fairs, hands-on activities and general distribution of educational materials, helmets and car seats.
TraumaOne's emergency preparedness team is responsible for the safety of patients, visitors and staff throughout UF Health Jacksonville's 65-acre campus during natural and man-made disasters, from hurricanes to terrorist threats. The team is also responsible for coordinating the hospital's response to any MCI with the potential to bring in a large number of patients with serious injuries. Examples include a parking garage collapse in downtown Jacksonville in November 2007 and an industrial explosion on the city's Northside just two weeks later.
2013 Patient Honoree
Sam Bellett had just turned 16 and was a week away from starting his junior year in a rigorous academic program at Mandarin High School when his life came to an abrupt halt.
He was struck by an SUV as he rode his bicycle to cross country practice and had to be rushed to TraumaOne at UF Health Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries.
His parents rushed to the hospital and saw scrapes covering Sam’s face, a brace on his neck and tubes helping him breathe, keeping him alive.
They were told Sam had suffered a severe brain injury, a fractured skull, a broken leg and numerous internal injuries.
"The instant the brain is injured, the injury starts a whole cascade of other things," said Joseph J. Tepas III, M.D., a University of Florida professor and chief of pediatric surgery. "Our job is to minimize the likelihood that that cascade will go out of control."
Because Jacksonville Fire and Rescue personnel quickly recognized the severity of Sam’s head injury and got him to TraumaOne, the region’s only adult and pediatric Level I trauma center, his prognosis looked good. But his body needed time to heal, so Sam was placed in a medically induced coma.
After three weeks in the hospital and several months of rehabilitation at Brooks Rehabilitation, the start of Sam’s junior year had come and gone. His college-level classes weren’t easy to begin with, so they certainly wouldn’t be easy to make up.
But Sam was determined to overcome the obstacle, and he did.
While he learned to walk again, while his fractured skull healed and while the swelling in his head subsided, Sam enrolled in virtual classes from home. Just months after his accident, he was back in his school taking those college classes.
Today, Sam is a successful freshman at the Ohio State University.