Reinhardt trauma event focuses on giving life

By Erika Neldner

When tragedy strikes a family and they lose a loved one in a
traumatic way, the first thing on their minds is not typically saving the life of
another.

That’s why Reinhardt University and its Cauble School of
Nursing & Health Sciences hosted its first Community Trauma Simulation. In
partnership with Life Force 3, an air ambulance service with Erlanger Health
System, and LifeLink, the organization that handles organ procurement in
Georgia, Reinhardt faculty and students presented a high-fidelity simulation
April 4 geared at highlighting the donor and the organ procurement process.

“Today’s exercise was one of learning and practice for our
student nurses, much like they do on a regular basis in their classes. It was
also an event for community engagement and awareness, not only for Reinhardt
but for organ donation and the dangers of texting and driving, as well,” said
Dr. Glynis Blackard, founding dean of the Cauble School of Nursing & Health
Sciences.  “In honor of National Donate Life
Month, we wanted to put our focus on the donor side of a traumatic event.”

In the simulation, a fictitious Reinhardt student named
Chuck Mercer leaves campus to meet up with his friends at a local pizzeria. Driving
toward Canton, he sends a text message while he is driving. In doing so, his
vehicle crosses the centerline of Ga. 140 and hits a truck head-on. He receives
a brain injury on impact, along with several other injuries.

The nearly 160 guests in attendance exited University
Theater to witness Life Force 3 bring the patient to “Reinhardt University
Medical Center,” a fictitious hospital where Mercer was taken.

Blaring from the Life Force 3 SUV, radio traffic between Life
Force 3 and “Reinhardt University Medical Center” could be heard by the crowd.
“Reinhardt University, this is Life Force 3. We have a 20-year-old male driver
in a head-on collision. … Patient is unresponsive.”

As radio traffic is communicated, the Life Force 3 air
ambulance approached University Theater and landed in the parking lot near
waiting Reinhardt student nurses ready to receive the patient.

The actual patient is “Apollo,” one of the Cauble School of
Nursing & Health Sciences’ high-fidelity simulators used daily by student
nurses in simulation class.

Over the next hour, Dr. Austin Flint – a longtime Canton
physician and Reinhardt University Trustee – served as the Emergency Room
doctor alongside student nurses and Reinhardt nursing faculty doing all they
could to save the patient’s life. When they realize all efforts have been
exhausted, LifeLink is called to speak to the family, played by faculty members
Brian Osborne and Kimberly Parker.

The simulation halted for a few moments to give Tracy Ide,
LifeLink project manager, and Tim Hand, LifeLink family care coordinator, an
opportunity to speak about the process of organ, eye and tissue donation. Ide
spoke of facts about organ donation, including that becoming an organ donor
does not mean a hospital staff will not try to save a life. “As you saw, they
did everything they could to save his life. That’s the job of the hospital
staff.”

She also said an organ donor still can have an open casket
funeral and the organ donation process is not something charged to the family.
“The cost of the organ recovery process is covered by LifeLink,” she added.

Hand said he is one of 20 family care coordinators across
the state who try to give a grieving family hope.

“It’s a kind of hope that through their loved one’s passing
and through their death, they and their story will continue,” he said. “The
final chapter of that patient is not one of a motor vehicle accident. The final
chapter is one of giving someone life or giving someone sight and giving
somebody else hope.”

For more information about the Cauble School of Nursing
& Heath Sciences, visit Reinhardt.edu. To learn more about organ donation,
visit LifeLinkFoundation.org.

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