On a recent Friday at Florida Atlantic University, Deb Del Vecchio-Scully began a lecture on trauma by asking an auditorium full of therapists to stand up and shake their bodies out like rag dolls.

"Do it with me," she said, as the room giggled and jiggled.

It was a light moment with a serious purpose. Del Vecchio-Scully explained that this was just one technique the therapists could offer a patient to help deal with the discomfort of traumatic stress.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, English teacher Sarah Lerner was displaced from her classroom. Now she’s going back.

Schools reopen in Broward County next week, and students are feeling anxious about returning after the deadly shooting that struck the district almost six months ago.

Intersection: Journalists Covering Trauma

Jun 20, 2018
Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Reporting on a mass shooting or a mass casualty event presents a unique challenge to reporters and newsrooms. Journalists have to deal with the emotional toll of reporting on trauma, as well as the practical issues of handling major stories.

Throughout the second week after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left  17 people dead, experts sent by the Israeli government hosted a series of trauma training sessions in Broward County for teachers, counselors and other members of the community who were coping with the violence.


Trauma Center Drama Could Be Nearing End

Mar 4, 2018

A final agreement on overhauling the approval of trauma centers is drawing near. The House and Senate on Friday took up trauma bills — HB 1165 and SB 1876, respectively — and prepared them for possible votes early next week.

Proposed Deal Could End Trauma Battles

Feb 15, 2018
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Legal wrangling over new trauma centers and which hospitals should be allowed to operate them could come to an end under a proposal moving through the Legislature.

Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa, said Wednesday the Senate, House and major players in the hospital industry have reached agreement on how to revamp the state’s 26-year old trauma rules.

“We have a deal,” Young told members of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

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A new U.M. student-led research group hopes to start doing the type of analysis and research that simply does not yet exist in Miami-Dade when it comes to understanding the causes and networks around gun violence from a public health perspective.

The new Gun Violence Research Advocacy Program hosted a discussion on Thursday along with trauma surgeons and local gun violence survivors.

“Night after night, it gets tiring and frustrating and overwhelming to meet survivors of gun violence,” said Dr. Rishi Rattan, a trauma surgeon.

Missy Hart grew up in Redwood City, Calif. — in gangs, on the street, in the foster care system and in institutions.

"Where I'm from," the 26-year-old says, "you're constantly in alert mode, like fight or flight."

But at age 13, when she was incarcerated in juvenile hall for using marijuana, she found herself closing her eyes and letting her guard down in a room full of rival gang members.

Sometimes, even professionally compassionate people get tired.

Kristin Laurel, a flight nurse from Waconia, Minn., has worked in trauma units for over two decades. The daily exposure to distressing situations can sometimes result in compassion fatigue.

"Some calls get to you, no matter who you are," she says.

I spent an alarmingly large chunk of 1989 trying to align a falling shower of digital building blocks into perfect rows of 10.

The Russian video game Tetris had just caught on in the States. Like many American children, I was rapt.

Plenty of video games are all-immersive, yet there was a particular 8-bit entrancement to Tetris — something about the simplicity and repetition of rotating descending blocks so they snugly fit together that allowed a complete dissociation from self, and from parental provocations ("Maybe, uh, go do something outside?").

The U.S. military is trying to figure out whether certain heavy weapons are putting U.S. troops in danger.

The concern centers on the possibility of brain injuries from shoulder-fired weapons like the Carl Gustaf, a recoilless rifle that resembles a bazooka and is powerful enough to blow up a tank.

House Panel Backs Revamping State Trauma System

Mar 28, 2017

After years of hospital-industry legal battles about opening new trauma centers, a House panel Monday approved a bill that would repeal limits on the numbers of trauma facilities across the state.

This month two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot and killed by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana.

The trauma of those events can be seen and  felt in black communities around the country.

Soul Sisters leadership collective is a Miami nonprofit helping to address the mental health consequences after police–involved shootings.

Tanisha Douglas is co-founder of the collective and a social worker and she helped create spaces in South Florida, for people, specifically black people, to work out how they were feeling after these killings.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is now operating as a Level II trauma center, making it the first designated trauma center in Sarasota County, the Bradenton Herald reports. Sarasota Memorial says its newly hired trauma surgeons and upgraded ER will treat 500 new trauma patients this year, the Herald reports. Blake Medical Center, in neighboring Manatee County, is the other designated trauma center in the region. 


Army Ranger Cory Remsburg 'Leads the Way'

Sep 24, 2014

Army Ranger Cory Remsburg returns each year to James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa to show the staff his progress. He was severely injured in 2009 and spent two years recovering at Haley’s Polytrauma Center.

Remsburg was on his tenth deployment when he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. His teammates found him face down in a water-filled canal with shrapnel in his brain.

He was in a coma when he arrived at the Haley.

The legal fight around Florida's expansion of the trauma-center network has been delayed yet again, with hearings pushed back to July and September, the News Service of Florida reports. These delays are the latest in the ongoing fight between long-time safety-net hospitals in urban centers of greater Tampa Bay and newly built HCA trauma centers in outlying suburbs, including Blake Medical Center in Manatee County and Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco County. 

As the House and Senate head toward a collision over trauma centers in late April, a proposal to let UF Health Jacksonville build a new hospital was added to the House health-care "train," HB 7113.

Trauma Drama Likely to Continue

Feb 26, 2014

The Florida Department of Health appears ready to move forward with a new proposal about divvying up trauma centers across the state, but the proposal could spur more battles in the courts and spill into the Legislature.
Department officials held a hearing Tuesday about a proposed rule that would determine how many trauma centers would be allowed in 19 separate areas of the state. DOH still wants to consider "community support" as a factor in the decision, while opponents say medical need should be the overriding concern.

The Florida Department of Health is proposing a new formula for determining the need for new hospital trauma centers, the News Service of Florida reports. 

The scoring system will factor in population, transport times to hospitals and community support, and whether there are Level 1 trauma centers in the area that might lose their patient base.

Officials from the Florida Department of Health will look to negotiations among surgeons, hospital lawyers and the Florida Department of Health's top attorney as they revise the rule on new trauma centers, the News Service of Florida reports.

The talks, led by former Supreme Court justice Kenneth Bell, are intended to resolve the disagreement over which applications for new centers are approved.

The Senate Appropriations Committee tacked on language to a bill to loosen regulations for approving new trauma centers, the the Miami Herald reports. That's similar to a move a committee in the Florida House made earlier this week.

Bradenton Herald

When two bombs went off near the Boston Marathon’s finish line, Lake County orthopedic surgeon John Cowin jumped over a barricade and started working on the nearby wounded, according to the Orlando Sentinel.