"Do not panic in the face of blood."
Norman E. McSwain, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.
Early in his career as a trauma surgeon, Dr. Norman McSwain identified the importance, yet lack of opportunities to provide education and training to pre-hospital care providers in order to improve outcomes for trauma patients. He committed his life to creating these opportunities and access to critical information that would make up the “fund of knowledge” allowing prehospital care providers to make the critical decisions that could mean the difference between life and death for their patients.
This was no passing interest. Over the course of his life, Dr. McSwain took himself to the field to observe, assist and train pre-hospital care providers in their own surroundings, ranging from race car tracks, to industrial and transportation emergencies, to the streets of the city where he lived and worked. He assembled a of team of trusted providers spanning the professional community from the “Streets to the Surgical Suites”, ensuring collaborative efforts would create content, access to that content, and planned experiences that would build the fund of knowledge he felt would make the difference in prehospital trauma care.
This was not a commitment taken lightly by Dr. McSwain. It was all consuming. Anyone who had the opportunity to work with him on a regular basis will say they were always greeted with, “What have you done for the good of mankind today?”. He expected you to respond and was prepared to listen. He saw it as both a challenge to you and an opportunity for him to hear about something he might turn his energies toward.
Access to the best education and training opportunities were a big part of this mission. The publications and courses he developed have contributed to countless lives saved and the optimized quality of life after injury for countless others. Dr. McSwain also realized most pre-hospital care providers are financially unable to attend the important presentations and conversations that take place at national conferences. He sought to do something about this.
He envisioned the McSwain Trauma Education Project (MTEP) that would provide quality continuing education through local and regional one-day trauma conferences with speakers equivalent to a national conference. His goal was to minimize the travel expenses of the attendees to a single tank of gas…half to get to the conference and half to return home.
Through MTEP we have broadened the scope of his original vision and concept to include not only local conferences nation-wide, but international local conferences, monthly on-line Trauma Talks, lectureships, sponsorships and seek additional opportunities to provide continuing trauma education.
Dr. McSwain’s death was felt deeply by the trauma community, particularly pre-hospital care providers who looked to him and his trusted team to provide the content and opportunity to learn. The McSwain Trauma Education Project and its fund-raising body (McSwain Charitable Trust) are continuing the dream, the mission and the call to action that Dr. McSwain gave to us.
Through donations from trauma professionals and other across the spectrum of care and around the globe, we are able to conduct regional one-day Trauma conferences across the United States and now Internationally with the same goal of reaching providers that would not otherwise have this opportunity. Through the McSwain Trauma Education Project, we have our answer to his query. This, is what we do for the good of mankind today and every day.