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Interim LSU Public Hospital and State Police Present Saved by the Belt Award to Mother and Son

Patrick Dennies, holding his Saved by the Belt Award, with his mother, Dorothy Compton, and her fiancée, Jay Laborde.
Dorothy Compton and Patrick Dennies

New Orleans -- The Interim LSU Public Hospital (ILH), in New Orleans, and Louisiana State Police, on behalf of the New Orleans Regional Traffic Safety Coalition, presented the region’s first Saved by the Belt Award on March 20.

The award recipients, Dorothy Compton and her son, Patrick Dennies, survived a horrific motor vehicle crash, in May 2012, on I-310, due to the proper use of their vehicle’s seat belts and access to trauma care at the ILH Level 1 Trauma Center. They are quick to note that seat belts minimized the extent of their injuries.

Patrick, who was 12 years old at the time of the crash, traveled from the scene of the crash in St. Charles Parish by ambulance to the ILH Level 1 Trauma Center while Dorothy arrived by air, illustrating the benefit of the Trauma Center to the eleven parishes it serves in southeast Louisiana.

“The ILH Level 1 Trauma Center had a significant impact on lessening the degree of their injuries. Due to Level 1 standards, both parties had immediate access to operating rooms,” said Bridget Gardner, RN, Injury Prevention Coordinator for the ILH Level 1 Trauma Center. “The availability of the surgeons and orthopedic surgeons involved in the procedures could only happen with the resources available at a Level 1 Trauma Center.”

The ILH Level 1 Trauma Center immediately provides physicians, nurses, technicians, and services for any patient experiencing a life-threatening or limb-threatening medical emergency. This immediate access to numerous high levels of expertise is essential to anyone in need of trauma care. The Level 1 Trauma Center provides optimal care for injured patients with full trauma-center staff, facilities, and services available 24 hours a day.

In 2012, in Louisiana, 680 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, and over 72,000 were injured. One definite way to impact these numbers is the use of a seat belt since 56 percent of motor vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained. In 2012, the Louisiana seat belt usage rate was 79 percent.