The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 8, 2012

Twp. hosts trauma forum: Abuse of children, elderly focus of annual event

TIRE HILL — Rescue squads, ambulance crews and emergency room staff are on the front line of the fight against abuse of children and the elderly, two law enforcement leaders said.

Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan and Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski outlined reporting responsibilities and gave tips on what to watch for on the scene of serious injuries to children and older residents during “Extremes of Trauma Care,” Memorial Medical Center’s annual trauma conference.

“We were trying to put into perspective that they are so crucial to us in trying to prove our cases,” Callihan said after Thursday’s presentation.

About 230 nurses, nursing students, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and other medical workers participated in the conference at Conemaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company in Tire Hill.

The daylong program covered different aspects of emergency treatment and follow-up medical care for both the youngest and the oldest trauma patients, with emphasis on recognizing and treating abuse victims, said Dr. Russell Dumire, medical director of Memorial’s Level One trauma center.

“Pediatric abuse has been in the limelight for years,” Dumire said. “We are seeing more elder abuse. It is just not as recognized because people don’t think to look.”

Front-line medical workers have some unique legal opportunities to protect the abused and help prosecutors convict their abusers, Callihan told the conference participants.

Medical workers can testify about what children tell them during treatment under an exception to the hearsay rule that normally disallows second-hand testimony, Callihan said.

“If you can get these kids talking, we can put you guys up there to say: She told me this,” Callihan said.

Medical workers also have the legal authority to take children into protective custody if they feel the child’s well-being is threatened, said Dr. Donna Balewick of Indiana Regional Medical Center.

“I am going to do what I need to do to protect that child,” Balewick said.

Kwiatkowski said he was impressed with the scope of the conference, saying, “It’s going from the grass roots at the house through the prosecution.”

Taking a cue from the political campaign season, Thursday’s conference wrapped with a light-hearted debate comparing challenges of pediatric trauma care versus geriatric trauma care.

Dr. James Gregory, Conemaugh Physician Group trauma surgeon, presented the geriatric case. Dr. Shawna Morrissey, chief surgical resident at Memorial, gave the arguments for pediatric trauma.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • fire_23 Investigators seek cause of West End fire

    The cause of a five-alarm fire early Monday at a vacant structure in the 500 block of Dorothy Avenue in Johnstown’s West End has not been determined, according to city fire officials.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richland seeks loan for roof, HVAC work

    Richland Township’s plans to replace the municipal building’s roof and heating and air conditioning system will cost nearly $600,000, Solicitor Gary Costlow said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Undocumented children already arriving in state

    An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S. border is spilling over into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Auditor cites flaws in gas drilling regulation

    Strained by limited resources and the rapid expansion of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania, environmental regulators have failed to adequately monitor well safety or to provide clear and timely information to citizens, the state auditor general said Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Driver in fatal DUI crash will serve jail time

    A Vintondale man was sentenced Tuesday in Cambria County court to serve 16 to 32 months in the county jail for a 2011 alcohol-related crash that killed a woman.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 22, 2014

  • Reade Twp. water projects receive funding

    Three water treatment systems in Cambria County will receive financial assistance from the state Department of Environmental Protection to remove acid mine drainage from nearby waterways.

    July 22, 2014

  • stoystown Tractor Fest Antique tractors chugging toward Stoystown fest

    A display of a whole lotta horsepower and pulling contests will highlight the 14th annual Antique Tractor Festival.
    Sponsored by Stoystown Lions Club and Laurel Highlands Antique Power Club, the event will be held July 31 through Aug. 3 at the Lions’ park, one-half mile east of Stoystown on Route 30.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Irish dance school wants to set toes tapping in Cambria County

    If you ever wanted to learn to dance an Irish jig, now is your chance.
    Kenny Cavanaugh School of Irish Dance, based out of Milford, Pike County, is expanding into Cambria County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Paterno son, other former assistant sue Penn State for $1M

    A son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has sued the university over his dismissal from its coaching staff two years ago, saying he has been unfairly linked to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

    July 22, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads