UAB honors Trauma Awareness Month, acknowledges 95% survival rate

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The University of Alabama at Birmingham is honoring Trauma Awareness Month in May.

“The trauma center in the Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery has seen double-digit increases in the number of trauma cases every year over the past three years,” said the trauma medical director at UAB Daniel Cox, M.D., in a press release . “Overall, we’ve seen an increase of 20 percent in trauma evaluations at the hospital since 2018.”

The increase is approximately 20 percent, according to the center. Cox says a lot of those are penetrating injuries, the kinds associated with gunshot wounds or stabbings.

“We saw 604 cases of gunshot wounds in 2013,” Cox said in the release. “In 2020, that number jumped to 1,056. Roughly 20 percent of all cases we see are penetrating injuries. The others are blunt force injuries, commonly seen in motor vehicle crashes or falls.”

“We are the only American College of Surgeons-verified adult Level I trauma center in the state of Alabama, and we are always open,” said Jeffrey Kerby, M.D., Ph.D., director of the division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, in the release. “We would love to put ourselves out of work; but we know the reality is people will get hurt, and we have to be there with the appropriate resources to treat those patients.”

Though the increase in trauma statistics is grim, a patient who makes it to UAB Hospital alive is overwhelmingly likely to survive, as the trauma center maintains a 95 percent survival rate. But Kerby and Cox both stress that boosting awareness and preventing injuries in the first place is the most important goal.

“That’s the goal of Trauma Awareness Month: to encourage people to take safety precautions and avoid injuries,” Kerby said in the release. “We are here and ready when the inevitable injuries happen; but we’d prefer to see these injury numbers go down, rather than keep going up.”

UAB is also heavily involved with a national program called STOP THE BLEED®. Organized by the American College of Surgeons, STOP THE BLEED® provides training and materials so that in the event of a traumatic and bleeding injury, properly trained and equipped bystanders can save someone’s life. May 20 is National STOP THE BLEED® Day, a one-day call to action urging families, schools, businesses, places of worship or other organizations to prepare.

For more information on how to participate, visit:

In honor of Trauma Awareness Month, UAB is turning one normally green UAB sign red to highlight through May.

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