WALESKA, GA (April 5, 2019) –
When tragedy strikes a family and they lose a loved one in a traumatic way, the first thing on their minds is not typically saving the life of another.
That’s why Reinhardt University and its Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences hosted its first Community Trauma Simulation. In partnership with Life Force 3, an air ambulance service with Erlanger Health System, and LifeLink, the organization that handles organ procurement in Georgia, Reinhardt faculty and students presented a high-fidelity simulation April 4 geared at highlighting the donor and the organ procurement process.
“Today’s exercise was one of learning and practice for our student nurses, much like they do on a regular basis in their classes. It was also an event for community engagement and awareness, not only for Reinhardt but for organ donation and the dangers of texting and driving, as well,” said Dr. Glynis Blackard, founding dean of the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences. “In honor of National Donate Life Month, we wanted to put our focus on the donor side of a traumatic event.”
In the simulation, a fictitious Reinhardt student named Chuck Mercer leaves campus to meet up with his friends at a local pizzeria. Driving toward Canton, he sends a text message while he is driving. In doing so, his vehicle crosses the centerline of Ga. 140 and hits a truck head-on. He receives a brain injury on impact, along with several other injuries.
The nearly 160 guests in attendance exited University Theater to witness Life Force 3 bring the patient to “Reinhardt University Medical Center,” a fictitious hospital where Mercer was taken.
Blaring from the Life Force 3 SUV, radio traffic between Life Force 3 and “Reinhardt University Medical Center” could be heard by the crowd. “Reinhardt University, this is Life Force 3. We have a 20-year-old male driver in a head-on collision. … Patient is unresponsive."
As radio traffic is communicated, the Life Force 3 air ambulance approached University Theater and landed in the parking lot near waiting Reinhardt student nurses ready to receive the patient.
The actual patient is “Apollo,” one of the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences’ high-fidelity simulators used daily by student nurses in simulation class.
Over the next hour, Dr. Austin Flint – a longtime Canton physician and Reinhardt University Trustee – served as the Emergency Room doctor alongside student nurses and Reinhardt nursing faculty doing all they could to save the patient’s life. When they realize all efforts have been exhausted, LifeLink is called to speak to the family, played by faculty members Brian Osborne and Kimberly Parker.
The simulation halted for a few moments to give Tracy Ide, LifeLink project manager, and Tim Hand, LifeLink family care coordinator, an opportunity to speak about the process of organ, eye and tissue donation. Ide spoke of facts about organ donation, including that becoming an organ donor does not mean a hospital staff will not try to save a life. “As you saw, they did everything they could to save his life. That’s the job of the hospital staff.”
She also said an organ donor still can have an open casket funeral and the organ donation process is not something charged to the family. “The cost of the organ recovery process is covered by LifeLink,” she added.
Hand said he is one of 20 family care coordinators across the state who try to give a grieving family hope.
“It’s a kind of hope that through their loved one’s passing and through their death, they and their story will continue,” he said. “The final chapter of that patient is not one of a motor vehicle accident. The final chapter is one of giving someone life or giving someone sight and giving somebody else hope.”
For more information about the Cauble School of Nursing & Heath Sciences, visit Reinhardt.edu
. To learn more about organ donation, visit LifeLinkFoundation.org