Trauma care assessment

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Kristin Welch, DVM, DACVECC, criticalist and founder of DVM STAT Consulting, discusses diagnostic techniques, one of the main focus areas of her lecture at Fetch Charlotte.

Kristin Welch, DVM, DACVECC, criticalist and founder of DVM STAT Consulting, presented the lecture “Revolutionizing trauma care: advanced techniques for triage, severity assessment and stabilization” at the 2024 Fetch dvm360 Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. In an interview with dvm360, she said the presentation was created to help veterinarians in a broad group of practices—from single-doctor general practices to emergency and urgent care practices—feel more comfortable assessing patients with trauma.

Welch discusses some immediate diagnostic techniques, one of the main focus areas of the lecture, in this video. She also shares a recent trauma case that demonstrated to attendees how ultrasound can quickly and easily aid in trauma diagnostics.

The following is a transcript of the video:

Kristin Welch, DVM, DACVECC: Trauma patients are always a big stressor. They give you a huge surge of adrenaline. And you sometimes only have minutes to make decisions that are critical in whether or not that patient lives. And, so, we focused a lot on the immediate diagnostic techniques that can be used to help save their lives. Cageside ultrasound, immediate diagnostic bloodwork, and how to put those little pieces of the puzzle together as part of your minimum database to make sure that you have a good idea of whether this patient has emergent injuries that need immediate surgical stabilization, whether a patient has emergent injuries that can be medically stabilized, or whether they have a combination of injuries, where those nonemergent injuries can be dealt with later, once you've focused on hemodynamic stabilization, fluid therapy, oxygen therapy, transfusion therapy.

One of the really neat moments during the talk was when we talked about who in the room has ultrasound that they can use, and almost everybody's hand went up. And the follow up question was ‘who uses ultrasound as part of their trauma triage diagnostics,’ and only about 40% of the room raised their hands. And I had a case, just this past week, it was a dog that had been hit by a car. And, so, I had some videos from just this past week, showing in real time, how quick it is and how easy it is for every doctor in that room to pick up their ultrasound and use it to do a global fast scan on these trauma patients. And after I showed all of those videos, I asked again, if this is something that everybody feels like they can start trying to do on every one of their patients. And everybody's hand went up.

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