Recovery clinic offered at UMC for trauma patients' psychological healing

Last year 2,200 people were rushed to the Level I Trauma Center at UMC, many with life-threatening injuries.

NEW ORLEANS - Last year 2,200 people were rushed to the Level I Trauma Center at University Medical Center, many with life-threatening injuries.  
 
While the trauma team is trained to save lives, now the medical community recognizes the importance of psychological healing and health after a trauma, so they have started a new treatment program.

Shannon Smith, 30, survived nearly being run over. She had six broken bones, including the spine, hands, pelvis along with a gash on her head. 

"I could have just died right there," Smith said.

Doctors in the UMC Level I Trauma Center healed her physically, but the mental trauma lingers. 

"Just dealing with the memory of the accident,  and kind of replaying in my mind over and over again many times a day,  and being afraid of going outside and being around cars," Smith said.
 
Now Smith is healing emotionally too, with the help of the UMC Trauma Recovery Clinic.

"It was helpful to talk about all those things and try to work through them and figure out how to continue and live my life," she said. 

The clinic just opened earlier this year for everyone who has been to the Trauma Center at UMC, or in the past, at University (ILH) or Charity Hospitals. It's for  family members too. 

"We get to follow them through the most vulnerable moment of their life, through them physically getting better and then in addition, get to work with them emotionally, getting stronger as well," said Alisha Bowker, an LSUHSC Clinical Social Worker who sees patients in the clinic.
 
The Trauma Center treats people from car wrecks, domestic violence and last year 800 victims of violent crime.
 
"One of the greatest needs right now in New Orleans, is treating the violent crime problem, and to provide resources and services for our gunshot victims and our victims of assault," said  Dr. Jennifer Hughes and LSUHSC Clinical Psychologist. 

Psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers treat patients personally and link them to community resources that can help. They say people who don't heal mentally and have PTSD are at risk of using alcohol and drugs, making life even worse.

Smith still doesn't have full use of her hand that broke in three places, but the Trauma Recovery Clinic is helping her move forward.

"It kind of makes me appreciate life more, knowing how fragile it is," Smith said. 
 
The clinic takes insurance, Medicaid and Medicare and also has financial assistance.To make an appointment call 504-702-5700 and ask for the Trauma Recovery Clinic.
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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