Massive pediatric neurosurgical injuries and lessons learned following a tornado disaster in Alabama: Clinical article

Academic Article


  • Object. A large volume of patients presented to a Level I pediatric trauma center during and after a recent tornado disaster. Injuries of the central and peripheral nervous systems and the medical responses of a pediatric neurosurgical team are reviewed. Methods. The clinical courses of patients who suffered cranial, spinal, and peripheral nerve injuries due to the tornado storm are reported. The clinical actions taken by the neurosurgical team during and after the event are reviewed and the lessons learned are discussed. Results. The tornado storm system moved through the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham metropolitan areas on the early evening hours of April 27, 2011. Twenty-four patients received care from the neurosurgical team. A total of 11 cranial (including placement of an external ventricular drain), 2 spine, and 2 peripheral procedures were performed for the victims. Nine procedures were performed within the first 12 hours of the event, and an additional 6 surgeries were performed in the following 24 hours. Injuries of the peripheral nervous system often presented in a delayed fashion. Several key components were identified that enabled adequate neurosurgical care for a large influx of acute patients. Conclusions. Massive casualties due to tornados are rare. A well-organized physician team working with the hospital administration may decrease the mortality and morbidity of such events.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chern JJ; Miller JH; Tubbs RS; Whisenhunt TR; Johnston JM; Wellons JC; Rozzelle CJ; Blount JP; Oakes WJ
  • Start Page

  • 588
  • End Page

  • 592
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 6