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Trauma Surgery: The Science of the Bleeding Obvious!

An interactive exhibit bringing the world of civilian trauma care to life, showcasing the research being conducted at one of the world’s top trauma centres.

  • School/Institute/Department: School of Medicine & Dentistry, Blizard Institute
  • Subjects: Trauma surgery, Medicine
  • Audience:
  • Status: Past

The general public is increasingly reminded of the risk of serious injury in everyday life by the media, and everyone at some time or another in their life will have experience of being injured and/or helping others through such an event.                                                                                                   

Trauma Surgery: The Science of the Bleeding Obvious! is an interactive activity exhibit bringing the world of civilian trauma care to life. It showcases the research being conducted at one of the world’s top trauma centres and demonstrates how this is improving treatment and outcome for the victims of the most severe traumatic injury.
Our exhibit will demonstrate how our leading research unit is working to understand haemorrhage in trauma and improving patient outcomes. Our unique and interactive models and games allow the audience to step into the world of trauma surgery and see for themselves the techniques and practices used to save a life.
Our research unit was the first to identify an intrinsic clotting defect, called ‘Acute Traumatic Coagulopathy’, in 25% of trauma victims. It is associated with increased blood loss, worse organ injury and four-fold increase in mortality after injury. Investigation of this entity by our team has identified a harmful anticoagulant pathway, mediated by thrombomodulin and protein C, which is activated by tissue injury and blood loss.  With the use of a unique version of the game Kerplunk we will demonstrate the key components of the blood clotting mechanism and give the audience the chance to ‘build’ a clot and ‘play’ the game to see what happens when this harmful pathway is activated as in the case of a severely injured trauma patient.  

Blood transfusion saves lives in trauma patients with haemorrhage.  One of the features of our exhibit will be dedicated to how whole blood is broken down into its different components, with the help of artificial replicates of the real thing, how we treat trauma patients with these products and how our research is validating a new technology to provide directed transfusion based on clinical data rather than physicians judgement.

At the Royal London Hospital, one of the world’s top trauma centres, when a severely injured, bleeding trauma patient arrives in the emergency department the priority is to stop the bleeding and maintain clotting at all costs.  This requires the use of damage control surgery, which means doing the minimum work needed to stem the major sources of blood loss, before sending the patient to intensive care to stabilise. The time-consuming reconstructive surgery can be done later.   With the use of a realistic manikin torso and performing a role-play mimicking a real trauma scenario, the audience will get to experience the time-dependent, team-driven process of saving a person’s life.

The journey of a trauma patient is often lengthy and doesn’t end once they have been discharged from hospital.  We will demonstrate the acute treatment of a trauma patient through the use of a short film clip and educate the audience about our research into improving outcomes and rehabilitation for victims of traumatic injury.  An interactive, electronic presentation and quiz will describe the science behind our research and test the audience on what they have learnt.

Visit the Centre for Trauma Sciences website for more information.

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