According to Dr. Talat Chughtai, Director of the Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the state-of-the-art, 19-bed critical care unit cares for around 600 patients each year. He said a multidisciplinary team of experts who are specially trained in the care and management of the critically ill and injured, care for the sickest patients treated by the healthcare provider.
“Each year we receive between 500 and 600 patients in the TICU who have had a traumatic injury and who need the highest level of intensive care. These patients are either directly received from the Trauma Room or after having undergone surgery related to an accident. Our staff is among HMC’s most experienced medical specialists and nurses and the TICU is fitted with advanced monitoring equipment. On average patients stay five or six days on the unit, but more complex cases may remain longer, up to several weeks or sometimes even more than a month, based on their injuries and clinical status,” said Dr. Chughtai, who is a thoracic surgeon from Canada specializing in trauma and critical care medicine.
Most patients admitted to the TICU have suffered multiple injuries. According to Dr. Chughtai, who is also a Senior Consultant with the Trauma Surgery Section at HMC, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and chest injuries (specifically lungs) are among the most common injuries seen at the TICU. Patients with this type of injury are admitted for neurologic monitoring and management as well as cardio-respiratory support and monitoring. Dr. Chughtai says many of the patients treated at the unit also have abdominal, facial bone, spine, and orthopedic injuries.
According to Dr. Chughtai, since established, the purpose-built TICU has provided advanced care to thousands of critically-ill patients. He said the TICU, which is the only one of its kind in the country, and perhaps even the region, is an essential part of the Hamad Trauma Center and has significantly improved the care provided to patients with critical injuries since it was established in 2007. He said HMC has received the Trauma Distinction Award of Excellence from Accreditation Canada International, becoming the first trauma organization in the world (outside of Canada) to earn this recognition.
“Blunt trauma, specifically road traffic injuries (including motor vehicle collisions and pedestrians hit by vehicles) are a major cause of death and disability among young people in Qatar and the wider Gulf region. The TICU is part of Qatar’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, which is led by Dr. Hassan Al Thani. We care for some of the sickest patients treated at HMC. In addition to providing the very best medical care, our teams also provide emotional support for patients’ families and work with the larger trauma system to deliver a full range of highly specialized care for Qatar’s most severely injured patients,” said Dr. Chughtai.
In 2016 the TICU was relocated to the first floor of a new Surgical Services Building (which includes state-of-the-art operating theatres on the ground floor). The move increased the unit’s capacity from 12 beds to 19 and was part of a larger expansion effort that included the establishment of an integrated surgery center. According to Dr. Chughtai, there are plans to further expand the 19-bed TICU (which also includes four isolation rooms for cases of severe infection), to a total of 26 beds (after the addition of seven intermediate care beds).
“Our teams have made infection prevention a top priority for patient safety and quality improvement. Additionally, we are focused on ensuring that our medical care is in line with international best practice. This is especially important for units like ours where we are caring for patients during the most critical phases of illness or injury. We are very focused on ensuring we have all of the right pieces in place to provide our patients with the very best evidence-based care,” said Dr. Chughtai.
The TICU is staffed by a team of 40 physicians, over one hundred nurses, and dozens of allied health professionals, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and dietitians. Dr. Chughtai said six to eight trauma fellows and specialists are scheduled per day shift (three in the evening, and two at night) along with two senior consultants who supervise the unit all week to ensure continuity of care. The unit maintains a one to one nurse to patient ratio (meaning one nurse provides care for only one patient at a given time).
The TICU is also part of the Trauma Critical Care Fellowship program. Graduates from Emergency Medicine and General Surgery undertake a one- to two-year fellowship to become specialized at Trauma/Critical Care. In addition to fellows, residents from programs such as emergency, general surgery, neurosurgery, ENT, plastic surgery, and orthopedic surgery, rotate for two to three months in the TICU. Medical students from Weill Cornell Medicine also complete a one-week rotation on the unit.
HMC is currently preparing to host the 4th World Academic Congress of Emergency Medicine (WACEM 2018), a collaboration between the Hamad Trauma Center, the Emergency Medicine Department, and the Ambulance Service. The event will bring together over 1,000 attendees including global experts from academic institutions, as well as physicians, nurses, paramedics, residents, and students involved in trauma, critical care, and emergency medicine.