The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Director of Emergency Medicine, Professor George Braitberg, was remarkably honest and candid as he discussed the toll on medical staff, working in trauma, to save road accident victims, among other horrific injuries, day in and day out.
Prof Braitberg spoke to me for our RACV Royal Auto ‘Impact’ project, for video and print, outlining the internal battle within a trauma specialist. Staff in Emergency must remain calm and clinical about the medical challenges to be faced, while never forgetting ‘the human business’ of the job, such as the emotional reaction of a patient once they wake up and may realise they will never be the same as before the accident, or the reaction of family members upon seeing this new, shocking version of their loved one.
‘It’s not so much every trauma that we see,’ Prof Braitberg told me, ‘but if I was to ask my staff – medical, nursing, social workers – to think of a trauma that sticks in your mind over the last 12 months, they’ll each have a number that they’ll refer to, so some aspects of a trauma do actually leave an emotional stamp on us, and on a regular basis.’
The messy human result of road trauma is something they deal with more than 800 times per year.
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