ER Doctor Develops New Trauma Spine Board

The Trauma Board 1000 with accessories
The Trauma Board 1000 with accessories

The suffering a doctor endured after an accident eight years ago has inspired the development of new products for trauma victims.

Dr. David Schenck, who worked in emergency rooms up and down the West Coast for 13 years, was driving his truck in a rural area when it was hit by another truck in the driver-side door. He said he lay strapped to a trauma spine board in severe pain for four hours as he was transferred from facility to facility. As a result, he said he was determined to design better transport devices for trauma victims, hoping to prevent others from undergoing what he experienced.

Schenck is the research man behind his own new company, Trauma Technologies, which he started last July in Lake City, Pa. He developed a product called the Trauma Board 1000 that he says is the first to solve a number of problems.

“For paramedics, the goal is to get patients to that golden moment where they reach the hospital,” he said. “But they often don’t realize that two to five hours is not unusual for being on the board. It could even be 12 to 48 hours before a patient is considered stable enough to remove.”

EMTs need transport equipment that eases victims’ pain, rather than increasing it, as many spine boards do, he said.

The Trauma Board 1000, he said, provides for adjustment in head-to-torso positioning and greater neck stability. The base is slightly tapered, he said, allowing a shoehorn-like maneuver to position the board under the patient. Pinned slots accommodate standard straps to fit smaller patients. Lightweight construction and large, elevated handles facilitate maneuvering, while the board’s central concavity supports patient comfort and safety.

The boards are X-ray translucent and will not interfere with X-ray interpretation, according to Schenck.

Because the average size of Americans is growing, many trauma victims require greater head elevation to protect from spinal injury, he said. The weight capacity of other spine boards has increased, but he said his is the only one that provides the recommended increase in head-to-torso positioning.

Trauma Technologies also developed PRO-TECH Gel pads that can be strapped to a board before patient positioning because, he said, even an hour on a hard surface can produce pressure sores.

“Emergency personnel need to understand that people get stuck on back boards,” he said. “They can’t clear you, and you’re in a lot of pain. When they strap you down, that can worsen your pain. I figured if I could help someone else not go through the hell I went through, it was worth starting this company.”

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