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Apr 11: Trauma Center Turns 20

Media Advisory

April 11, 2007

Memorial Health System Trauma Center Turns 20


The Memorial Health System Trauma Center became a reality 20 years ago this month. Doctors had seen a growing need for an integrated system to care for the most critically injured patients, but it took the staunch backing of Dr. Oscar Arguello-Rudin to bring the program to fruition. With strong support from then CEO Bob Peters, Emergency Department Medical Director Marilyn Gifford and the Memorial Board, the Memorial Hospital Trauma Department began with Dr. Arguello-Rudin the sole trauma surgeon. In July of 1987, Drs. Butler and Seagraves joined the trauma surgical staff. There are now eight trauma surgeons and four pediatric trauma surgeons.

The program has grown from 245 patients evaluated and treated in 1988 (the first year statistics are available), too more than 1,600 in 2005.

Since its inception, the trauma center has treated every imaginable injury from falls, gunshots, stabbings, skydiving accidents, car surfing, animal attacks and hypothermia, just to name a few.

Before Memorial started its trauma program, patients would be treated and stabilized and transported to Denver. Often, the results were not good.

Kerri Huffman is a testament to what has become a top notch, level II trauma center. During an icy drive on Highway 115 in October 2002, there was a terrible accident. Kerri’s car was T-boned by a semi. Kerri arrived at Memorial with extensive internal and head injuries. The trauma surgeons worked for hours on Kerri, unwilling to give up on her. They cracked her chest to fix what had been unstoppable bleeding. Kerri pulled through and today calls the Memorial Trauma Center “the angels who saved her life.” Without that level of expertise and doctors and staff on standby, Kerri Huffman probably would not be alive today.

On this 20th anniversary of the Memorial Health System Trauma Center, we salute the dedicated doctors, nurses and staff, who continue to save lives today.

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For more information please contact the Memorial Health System Public Relations Office, (719) 365-5235