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Eye on Health: Key findings in Beacon research may have far-reaching implications for trauma patients

Lee Erdman (left), a South Bend Saint Joseph High School senior, Dr. Rajalakshmy Sundararajan, Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Scott Thomas, Emergency Medicine and Chief of Trauma Services, pose with their award-winning poster.

Award-winning and internationally recognized trauma center research led by Beacon Health System physicians has produced findings that could reduce the amount of time trauma patients spend in the hospital.

Data collected from an 18-month-long study reveals promising news for trauma patients if they are treated with whole blood.

Their length of stay in the hospital isn’t as long when trauma patients receive whole blood, as opposed to one component of blood, such as platelets, plasma or red blood cells.

In fact, length of stay decreased by as many as five days for trauma patients who received whole blood.

“When patients lose blood, they’re not losing just one component of their blood. They are losing blood in general,” said Dr. Justin Koenig, Elkhart General Hospital trauma medical director. “ So, by giving them back whole blood, and all of the components at one time, it’s allowing us to start that process of resuscitation much faster.”

The trauma team’s research study poster (see above) won 2nd place out of 114 posters in September at the American Academy of Emergency Medicine 12th Mediterranean Emergency Medicine Congress in Rhodes, Greece. The authors are Lee Erdman, Madhura Vachon Ph.D., Dr. Sundararakan, Dr. Algis Baliunas, Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Thomas.

The Beacon-led team believes its findings could have far-reaching implications for trauma patients everywhere. Read much more about the research study, those leading it and their findings in this month’s WSBT Eye on Health or watch the video story below.



When a medical emergency strikes, Beacon is prepared to give you the help you need. Memorial Leighton Trauma Center is the region’s only verified Level II Trauma Center. It also works with MedFlight, the only medical flight service in Michiana. Elkhart General Hospital is a Level III Trauma Center designation by the American College of Surgeons. Learn more about our Beacon trauma teams and their capabilities. 


About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.