SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Pediatric trauma is the number one killer of children in this country.
That may help explain why the only Level I trauma center in North Louisiana now also is recognized as a Level II pediatric trauma program.
The facility is the first and only program of its kind statewide.
And there’s a huge need for it, with so many sad, scary stories.
Consider Stephanie Pace, a Bossier City wife and mother of two.
Her story begins with memories of a relaxing Labor Day holiday weekend in 2016.
Then the phone rang asking her to pick up her daughter.
As she began to tell us about their long ordeal to follow, Pace fought back tears recalling how she had then picked up her daughter, Kayleigh, who had spent the day with friends in the Olde Oaks subdivision in southern Bossier Parish.
But in the car, Kayleigh began to complain about her bad headache and feeling sleepy.
What Pace did not know at that moment was her daughter's deceptively critical head injury.
Pace continued explaining how she soon realized Kayleigh was not doing well in the car.
“Trying to keep her awake ...”
Pace started, then stopped, then told us how Kayleigh and three other girls had all been packed on the one bench of a golf cart, and weaving back and forth around the neighborhood that day.
At some point, Kayleigh fell out, likely hitting her head on the cart’s back tire before hitting the ground — hard.
Eventually, an ambulance would rush her to the hospital.
Shortly after arriving came the next surprise, this coming from the medical staff.
“And when they came in and said, 'We’re calling 911 ...”
Kayleigh, they discovered, had a brain bleed, two skull fractures and broken ribs and needed to go immediately to the only Level I trauma Center in North Louisiana — Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport.
The Paces’ story is all too common, where life can change for any of us, with a traumatic event, in the blink of an eye.
Mark Randolph, chief operation officer at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport, described the big picture of just how serious trauma has become to children in this country:
“I think, you know, the important thing to remember is that with children, trauma is actually the leading cause of death. If you combine all the different causes of death, trauma outranks all of them put together.”
The aim of the pediatric Level II trauma program at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport is getting children the kind of specialized medical treatment they need as fast as possible.
The Louisiana Emergency Response Network recognized the Shreveport hospital’s pediatric trauma program July 1.
LERN, which works closely with EMS and hospitals in transporting injured children, has focused much of its attention on establishing pediatric trauma centers in Louisiana
Randolph explained why it requires so much teamwork and coordination.
"You had to combine not only your trauma service, but your pediatric surgery, your pediatric floor, pediatric ICU as well as your ER physicians. Many, many players in it."
As for Stephanie Pace, her husband, Scott — a KSLA News 12 videoographer — and their family, it’s still overwhelming to think of all the people in and out of the hospital who helped them along the way.
Pace paused for a moment during the end of her conversation with KSLA News 12, took a deep breath then made one final observation.
“It’s like God put every right person in place.”
So what separates children and adults in treating trauma?
One clear example can be the different protocols used.
That includes the different medications that might be used for one group, but not the other.