Trauma Center within Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is Devoted to Children’s Needs

It can happen in an instant. One minute your toddler is playing in the yard, the next you are rushing to the emergency room, hoping your child will receive the immediate quality care needed. 

That was the case for one 2-year-old, except the question of care wasn’t a concern after stepping into the children’s trauma unit at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Program enhancements to this unit were partially funded by a $2.5 million grant in 2017 from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation. The toddler’s identity and the identity of the family are protected due to medical privacy laws, but the story is no less heartbreaking. Leisurely playing outside, the child was violently attacked by a neighborhood dog – the child’s tiny arm left a mangled mess. After arriving at the trauma center, the medical team immediately went to work. 

The first step was an evaluation by a trauma trained nurse who then activated the Level 1 Trauma Protocol. That training, provided by the Santikos Fund, spurred into action a host of medical professionals to deliver immediate and hyper-focused attention to the patient. A trauma bay camera documented treatment to help the medical team further assess care after initial diagnosis and to serve as a teaching tool to prepare the next generation of professionals for top-notch trauma care. 

A CT scanner disguised as an underwater adventure tube was used to assess damage and trauma levels. The underwater overlay transformed the entire room into a sea adventure. As a result, children have been able to undergo needed scans without the use of sedation.  

The Pediatric Operating Room table allowed surgeons a stable environment to repair the child’s 18 lacerations and an arm broken in four places. The bones were perfectly set using a Fluoroscopy Imaging machine and recovery took place after surgery on a floor supervised by nurses with specialized training to care for young trauma patients. After a few nights of treatment, the young child was able to return home.

The Santikos Foundation’s grant has helped us become a trauma center dedicated solely to the specific needs of children. With the retina specialists, orthopedic trauma equipment and education provided by the grant, we don’t have to transfer children out of our care, and we can help nearly every child coming to us for care,” said Ian Mitchell, M.D., FAAP, FACS. Dr. Mitchell, who is a pediatric surgeon, is also trauma medical director and chief of surgery at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. 

From 2015 to 2019, the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation has awarded more than 1,000 grants to nonprofits and medical entities caring for residents in an eight-county area. These grants align to the designated areas of interest and support listed by Mr. Santikos. The areas include people in need, health, youth and education, and arts and culture. 

“Helping families in times of need is just one of the ways we honor Mr. Santikos wishes,” said Marjie M. French, CEO for the San Antonio Area Foundation. “We are committed to improving lives through the philanthropic legacy of our many caring donors.”

The Santikos story is an example of the ways in which donors at the San Antonio Area Foundation are making a positive difference in the community through their generosity and desire to see San Antonio and the surrounding area become a safer, healthier and more vibrant place to live for all.