News & Events

Trauma program teaches teens to ‘Be Aware”

May 31, 2013

With prom season in full swing, a group of local teens were given a large dose of reality last week when they took part in the hospital’s “Be Aware” program.

Thirty-plus students from Waterford, Stonington, Ledyard and North Stonington participated in this sobering experience. Over the entire school year, an impressive 800 students completed “Be Aware,” which teaches high schoolers about the tragedies caused by drunken and distracted driving.

Organized by the Trauma Center team, students listened intently as they learned what it’s like to be a trauma patient as a result of a motor vehicle crash. They visited main areas of the hospital involved in caring for victims. Their morning started in the ambulance bay where American Ambulance paramedics described the emergency procedures taken at a crash scene, and how this process can be delayed if victims have to be extricated from the vehicle.

The tour then moved to the trauma area where registered nurse, Laurie Matylewicz, RN, explained the fast-paced and life-saving measures taken by Emergency Department staff to control bleeding and respiratory issues. In the Critical Care Unit, students learned what is done to keep patients alive including breathing machines, tubes to expand the lungs, measuring urine and measuring the activity and pressure of the brain. Life-like mannequins were used in both areas to help bring to life the devastation caused by such an accident.

Along the way, students also visited the morgue and autopsy room. Gillian Mosier, RN, MSN, Trauma Program Manager drew a stark comparison between today’s hit forensic shows and the morbid reality of death. Students saw firsthand the exam table and tools used to perform an autopsy.

After their tour, Ms. Mosier accompanied the students to the main lobby conference rooms where they watched sobering videos of car crashes and were faced with the real consequences of drunken and distracted driving.

James O’Dea, PhD, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Service Line Development, left the adolescents with a resonating message, asking them to take responsibility for themselves and make good choices. He asked them to go home that evening and sign a contract for life. As he made this request, he said, “It’s about you, we want you to have a plan.”