In 1976, James Styner, MD, a Lincoln orthopedic surgeon, his wife and four children were in a plane crash. Sadly, Dr. Styner's wife died at the crash scene. He managed to get his children to a rural hospital, but found the emergency department locked, with no physicians on duty. Dr. Styner's children were fortunate to survive after a 10-hour wait to receive care.
In 1978, Dr. Styner, along with Paul Collicott, MD, general and peripheral vascular surgeon, and other interested physicians started discussing the idea of a fully integrated trauma center. By June 1981, what was then Lincoln General Hospital, was verified as a Level II Trauma Center.
Besides the development of a successful trauma system for Southeast Nebraska, the Trauma Center is committed to advancing the care of critically injured patients outside of the state. The Trauma Center helped pioneer the international Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program. The ATLS course is the leading educational program used to train physicians in the key concepts of assessment and stabilization of critically injured patients. Dr. Collicott led a committee of Lincoln physicians who developed the ATLS course, which was adopted by the American College of Surgeons in 1979 as a national trauma educational program for physicians. The course is taught internationally and continues to expand around the world.