Injury from major trauma (wounds or shock produced by sudden physical injury such as violence or an accident) is one of the highest causes of avoidable death among under 40’s worldwide. Due to the range and complexity of such cases, trauma services require a concentration of medical expertise – with timely access greatly impacting on how patients’ recover. Access to such complex multi-capacity expertise in Ireland is limited and subject to significant geographical variation.
One of Ireland’s leading trauma clinicians, Prof. John McElwain of Tallaght Hospital asserted that Ireland requires just a small number of national trauma centres to provide this expertise. The challenge was, therefore, to begin a conversation on the need for national trauma centres with fast access protocols to raise awareness of the issues involved.
Leveraging the expertise of Prof. John McElwain, we worked to distil the key points of a complex issue into messaging that was easily understood both by medical professionals and others. We also identified some patient case studies to support the overall thesis. These were people who had suffered serious life threatening injuries and whose survival and recovery hinged very much on the expert surgical and follow on care provided at Tallaght Hospital.
We identified a number of key media outlets to target with his message. These outlets focused on medical audiences, national agenda-setting radio and TV media with a somewhat broader focus.
Prof. McElwain’s views were outlined extensively in an in-depth feature in the Irish Medical Independent on the status of trauma services in Ireland with follow up engagement occurring in its letters pages. Prof. McElwain was interviewed on Newstalk by Pat Kenny on the agenda-setting morning radio show. He also participated in a dedicated trauma feature on Ireland AM with a former patient. In these outings, Prof. McElwain was able to communicate his views on Irish trauma services, its relevance for patients while also underlining the calibre of Tallaght Hospital’s multi-disciplinary trauma team. The media chosen were varied but the core messages were clearly communicated and understood.