As a Staff Physician in Trauma, not only at the University of Michigan Health System, but also at Hurley Hospital in Flint, I became adept at giving families bad news. I remember having to tell a young mother that her husband would never quite be the man that she married due to the extent of his injuries and subsequently having a young medical student tell me what a great job I had done delivering that devastating news to the family.
At that point I realized that I didn't want to be good at delivering bad news; I wanted to be good at preventing injury.
This was a pivotal moment in my life. How could I effect change so that fewer families had to hear that their loved ones would never be the same?
In response to this epiphany, I founded UMPIRE, the University of Michigan Program for Injury Research and Education. UMPIRE brings together professionals from a variety of disciplines who share a passion for decreasing the heavy societal burden caused by motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries. Under the auspices of UMPIRE, we hold a monthly Case Review with clinicians, automotive engineers, safety system designers, law enforcement, and first responders. Over the course of four hours, we walk through and analyze crash data and compare it to the resulting MVC injuries, working across discipline and organization to better understand and ultimately prevent devastating injuries.
In the almost 20 years that UMPIRE has been in existence, thousands of crashes and the data associated with the subsequent interaction between vehicles have been measured, catalogued, and analyzed to better inform the professionals responding to the MVC, the clinicians treating the victims, and the automotive and safety experts who design and engineer vehicles.
Together, we have gotten incrementally better at preventing injury!