“We do great for our patients while they’re here,” says Penn trauma surgeon Elinore Kaufman, MD, MSHP, “but they’re really struggling after they go home. The physical, mental, and social consequences of a violent injury are very profound.”
Enter one of the newest members of the trauma team at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), Rodney Babb. Babb isn’t a surgeon, a nurse, or a social worker, but he could make just as big an impact for survivors of violent injuries. As PPMC’s first violence intervention specialist, Babb supports patients once they leave the hospital by helping them navigate all the challenges that can come with recovery.See more in Penn Medicine System News
Before a family arrives after their loved one has been violently injured, Josh Edgar, the principal chaplain for Trauma at the hospital, will have worked to find out which family members may be arriving to see the patient to prepare for his role as the Trauma Team Family Liaison. He will have coordinated with hospital security and be prepared with a plan to have the family briefed by a physician.
For patients who are admitted, Edgar will offer ongoing care in a chaplaincy role throughout a person’s stay at PPMC, helping them to process their traumatic injury through retelling the events that brought them to the hospital, reflecting on their experience, and discussing what gives them strength, and facilitating their own spiritual coping.
“When reflecting on the incident that brought him to the hospital, one young man said to me, ‘I know it’s short, but my whole life flashed before my eyes,’” Edgar recalled.