For people who experience severe physical trauma, there is no such thing as a doctor who can restore them back to health. It takes an entire army of experts. And preventing complications that lead to organ failure or death often depends on how well that team can apply their combined expertise after an accident.
That’s why the Level I Trauma Center at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital is expanding its research program with added emphasis on multidisciplinary research. The goal is to improve treatment for patients with the most traumatic injuries, according to Todd McKinley, M.D., an orthopedic trauma surgeon at IU Health Methodist Hospital Trauma Center.
McKinley has been a champion for this broad approach to trauma research, which gathers knowledge from all medical fields. Rather than viewing patients through the lens of their respective medical specialties, doctors and researchers learn to treat trauma patients more comprehensively.
“I don’t think patients really care what any single piece of research looks like,” McKinley says. “They are hurting and we need information about how their whole treatment picture should evolve to help them avoid complications resulting from trauma.”
IU Health Methodist Hospital is perfectly suited for this strategy because it is already aligned with the world’s top researchers and clinical labs through Indiana University Medical School. Trauma research will be expanded with support from an existing community of experts including:
- general surgeons
- orthopedic trauma surgeons
- critical care physicians
- plastic surgeons
- molecular biologists
- clinical scientists
“If you want to be a front-line player in the research world, you need to have the clinicians and scientists in the same room communicating once a week,” McKinley says. “The goal here is to establish that culture.”
This type of research is more like a marathon than a 100-meter dash. Based on his extensive experience in research, McKinley says it can take years of small steps to build knowledge that’s clear enough to affect treatment. “I think we have a good chance of affecting trauma treatment –not necessarily today or tomorrow, but certainly within the next 10 years.”