If there were to be serious accidents or injury due to some other cause like mob violence, the initial steps in the treatment of such persons in the emergency room are the same. However, the procedures that are undertaken in the intensive care are varied and could possibly determine the life and death of the patient.
Scientists are now working towards developing a set of guidelines to treat severely injured patients so that after-care is not compromised in any way. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH), is funding this venture. The first of the articles being compiled by the team appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. In future, the team will bring out guidelines on resuscitation, prevention and treatment of venous blood clots, diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, blood sugar control, nutritional support, transfusion thresholds, and sedation. "This program shows how partnerships between clinical and basic researchers can speed the pace of improving medical practices," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "Combining cutting-edge basic science tools with clinical know-how is a powerful formula for solving complex medical problems." The main problem for burn and trauma patients is the inflammatory process, which controls the healing. Excessive response could result in multiple organ failure leading to death. "Thanks to the increased skills of paramedics and first responders, more and more severely injured patients are making it to the emergency room," said Ronald Maier, M.D., director of the team's clinical group and surgeon-in-chief at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A lot of other factors do play a role in determining the outcomes, but more often the quality of care is the important one. "Establishing standard treatment procedures is an important first step in improving patient care," said NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D. "But we expect the real breakthrough to come when genetic data from the project helps physicians tailor treatments for each critically injured patient."