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Southern Illinois Trauma Team
Dr. John Sutyak Portrait

October 16, 2009

CONTACT:  Nancy Zimmers (SIU) 545-3854 or Susan Helm (SIU Surgery) 545-7012,
Michael Leathers (MMC) 788-7086 or Erica Smith (SJH) 544-6464, ext. 44307

SITC Completes 10 Years Providing Trauma Care for Central Illinois

Completing its tenth year of operation, the Southern Illinois Trauma Center (SITC) has provided treatment to 11,132 injured patients since it began in 1999.  Those patients came to its hospitals in Springfield from throughout an 18-county service area as well as some from other trauma centers.

“We’re very proud of the center’s development, which is possible because of commitments made by the medical school, the two Springfield hospitals, various community physicians and the EMS network,” says Dr. John P. Sutyak, SITC’s medical director and associate professor of surgery at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

SITC is designated a Level I trauma center by the Illinois Department of Public Health.  A partnership of Memorial Medical Center, St. John’s Hospital and SIU, it began providing trauma care for west central and southern Illinois in July 1999.  The SITC host site alternates annually between Memorial and St. John’s and changes in January.
Over the past ten years, the causes of injuries seen by the SITC have remained relatively unchanged.  More than half of the injuries are the result of motor vehicle crashes (56 percent).  Falls followed as the next most common category (18 percent).  Other categories include assaults (10 percent), motorcycle accidents (7 percent) and ATV accidents (2 percent).

“These seriously injured patients benefit from the excellent trauma facilities at both hospitals, the established trauma protocols and the range of specialty care, especially in burns, orthopaedics and plastics, that is available here in Springfield,” Sutyak explained.
The patient cases average 70 percent for men and 5 percent for pediatrics (11 years or younger).  About 28 percent of patients are transferred from one of the hospitals in the SITC service area as well as hospitals in Bloomington, Decatur and Champaign.

The SITC team uses a combination of SIU surgery faculty and local surgeons who provide primary trauma surgery call, including specialists in neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, oral surgery, otolaryngology and plastics/burns.  Sutyak became SITC medical director in April 2004.

The regional system has been developed with active participation from 16 hospitals, including the Level II center in Quincy.  About 4,000 emergency medical services (EMS) personnel are part of the system, which covers 10,203 square miles.

All three partners have expanded education and prevention programs in Springfield and throughout the service region.  SITC’s multiple conferences have attracted nearly 2,500 EMS providers, paramedics, nurses and physicians in the past decade.  Nearly 330 nurses have taken IDPH/SITC-sponsored trauma nurse specialist course (12-day course).  Many other nurses have completed the two-day trauma nurse core curriculum.
Numerous lectures are given to local fire departments and EMS agencies in the region.  The staff also participates in community health fairs and provides training or programs for a variety of audiences such as Boy Scouts, high school athletic directors, parents’ groups and college students.

Trauma centers treat the most serious injuries from which a person may be at risk for loss of life or limb.  After providing initial care, the trauma team continues its involvement with the patient for critical care.  Both Memorial and St. John’s operate emergency departments as part of the system with trauma patients directed to the SITC Level I designated hospital.

The 18 counties covered by SITC are -- Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler and Scott.

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 The SITC trauma surgeons are --