Columbus, OH,
15:00 PM

Columbus Dispatch: Transforming Trauma Care with pREBOA-PRO


In the face of increasing gun violence in Ohio, the trauma care team at OhioHealth's Grant Medical Center, led by medical director of trauma, Urmil Pandya, MD, continues to push the boundaries of medical advancements to save lives.

With a 44 percent surge in gun deaths from 2011 to 2020, the introduction of the groundbreaking pREBOA-PRO procedure in 2021 is proving to be a lifesaver for patients experiencing critical blood loss due to gunshot wounds.

The pREBOA-PRO (Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta) procedure, first performed worldwide at Grant Medical Center, has transformed trauma care by quickly plugging wounds with a catheter and balloon without the need for major incisions. In these crucial moments, the procedure not only stops blood loss but allows blood flow to vital organs.

"If you have a pipe and you have a hole in it, the single most important thing to do is to plug that hole," Dr. Pandya told The Columbus Dispatch reporter Max Filby. "The more you limit that blood loss, the better your survival chance is."

The pREBOA-PRO procedure, performed even before patients reach the operating room, has transitioned from clinical trials in 2021 to widespread use. 

In an emergency situation, the goal is to get a gunshot patient to a hospital as quickly as possible and stabilize them. This is where technology like the pREBOA-PRO procedure makes a massive difference.

"Every second is that much more blood loss," Dr. Pandya said. "Time is everything."

However, with the rise of gun violence in Ohio, an even greater burden is placed on the trauma care team at Grant, the busiest level 1 trauma center in the state.

"A lot of the care team goes into machine mode," Dr. Pandya said. "You don't have time to think about what happened or who this person is."

As the number of critical patients continues to rise, the toll on the mental and emotional well-being of healthcare professionals grows with it. But Laurie Hommema, MD and her team is there to help.

Dr. Hommema is the associate program director of the Family Medicine Residency program at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital and leader of OhioHealth's resiliency program. Dr. Hommema and her colleagues provide the doctors and nurses who witness the effects of gun violence with resources to help them cope with the emotional aftermath. 

She wants to make sure people "don't let things build up over months or years" and is working to change the narrative around handling trauma in the medical field.

Dr. Hommema has always felt, “a call of duty, a sense of this is what I do and a sense that this should be normalized.” Though the reality of the injuries seen in emergency departments are often devastating and life-altering, she said.

Dr. Hommema’s response team offers on-the-spot assistance at any medical center in the system. OhioHealth also provides a suicide prevention program and other ways for medical professionals to seek help.

Dr. Pandya is one who recognizes the impact of working on challenging trauma cases and gives his team a space to express their emotions and share the burden after a difficult experience.

“The more death, the more taxing it is on everyone,” he said. "A lot of these people are younger and there's something about seeing young people ... that takes that emotional toll."

To read the full article from The Columbus Dispatch, click on the logo below.