Annual Mississippi Coastal Trauma Symposium

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Today, more than 450 first responders from around the state gathered together on the Coast for the 18th annual trauma symposium. This year, the event focused on pediatric trauma.

The National Institute of Health recognized Mississippi for having the best state-run trauma system in the country. Mississippi Trauma Region Executive Director Norman Miller said, “We are the poorest state in the union and yet we can take limited resources like we have in Mississippi, our budget for an entire year is somewhere at 21, 22 million dollars.”

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Officials credit this success in part due to events like the trauma symposium where first responders have the opportunity to network with other health care providers. Biloxi Fire Deputy Chief in Training Nick Geiser said, “Something like this helps us make the connections we need, learn how to do life flights, call in life flights if need be on a bad motor vehicle accident and just make those connections and learn new techniques. There is a lot of new equipment that comes out year by year that we don’t get to deal with on a day by day basis unless it’s on an emergency scene and that way we are familiar with it at the time.”

You might be surprised to see animals like a mini-horse at the trauma symposium, but they are actually here to help comfort those who deal with a stress on a daily basis. Mississippi Coastal Trauma Care Region Director Gail Thomas said, “It is very stressful, but you are trained, but you react out of your training and you tend to stuff that stress down and you don’t often deal with it. It kind of creeps up on you and animals are just very calming.”

Animal-assisted therapy can also reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in people with a range of health problems including cancer treatments, PTSD, and cardiovascular diseases.