Staying safe as America reopens

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As states ease lockdown restrictions, millions of Americans are spending more time outdoors, including heading to the beach or riding along ATV trails.

However, doctors at Augusta University Health are seeing an uptick in trauma injuries, and say it may be due to something as simple as careless decisions.

May is National Trauma Awareness Month, and Dr. Terence O’Keeffe, chief of the Trauma/Surgical Critical Care Section at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, suggests families take every precaution to stay safe as states reopen.

“We all know trauma happens, and this month is a great time to reflect on how to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer by preventing injuries and deaths,” said O’Keeffe. “Although it feels great to be back outdoors, I encourage everyone to be mindful that injuries can still happen. So, don’t forget to wear a helmet when riding a bike, don’t drive while intoxicated and drive motorcycles and cars at appropriate speeds.”

If you do sustain an injury, O’Keeffe says not to let the fear of contracting COVID-19 keep you from going to the hospital. Trauma injuries should be treated by a medical professional as quickly as possible to prevent long-term disability or death.

AU Health’s Trauma Center has continued providing high-quality care to patients, even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The center has been verified as an adult Level I trauma center and a pediatric Level II trauma center by the Verification Review Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons.

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Dr. Terence O’Keeffe is a leading expert in critical care medicine and his research has been published in more than 170 journal articles. He has been twice honored with a presidential citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine and serves as the chair of the society’s Surgery Section.

To schedule an interview with O’Keeffe, call 706-522-3023.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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