HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – From Eastern Virginia to Northeast North Carolina, if you get a traumatic injury, chances are you’ll end up in Sentara Norfolk General’s Level 1 Trauma Center.
The team inside the hospital can handle all types of injuries.
“We have a team of folks who’ve seen a lot of this stuff, but we know how to deal with it,” said Dr. Jay Collins, medical director for trauma at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
The trauma center has treated around 2,600 patients this year.
Collins said they expect around 5,200 patients by the end of the year.
He said they mostly see accidental injuries like a car crash or someone diving into shallow waters.
“You see a young person who has broken their neck is quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down,” Collins said. “They are 23, 27, and 30-years-old. That’s devastating.”
He said when it was super hot outside, the trauma center saw sunburns on people’s feet.
He said summertime also brings in water-related injuries.
“We see a lot of tourists are here at the beach at the Outer Banks,” Collins said. “The Outer Banks sends a lot of patients to us.”
The trauma center saw gunshot and stabbing victims, but Collins said it only makes up about 13% of the injuries the hospital treats.
“The penetrating trauma that gets a lot of the glory on the news is a small percentage of what we see,” Collins said.
He said it’s about the same number of penetrating injury patients coming in as last year.
“Me wanting to be an optimist if we are seeing a plateau, I’m going to think maybe we are getting a little better with some of our community outreach,” Collins said.
He said a person’s recovery doesn’t stop once they leave the hospital.
“You come in after a major accident and we try to mend you and put you back together; that’s just a small piece of this,” Collins said. “Trying to get you to recover mentally and physically and integrate back into life is a whole other part of that.”
That’s part of what happens at Sentera Norfolk General Hospital. They make sure to help you get back to normal life.
Collins does have some words of advice to stay out of the trauma center.
“Think twice before you do some things,” he said. “Be smart and be safe. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you get.”