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Press Release: University Medical Center New Orleans Honors Pioneering Trauma Surgeon by Dedicating the Norman E. McSwain, Jr, MD, Spirit of Charity Trauma Center

(NEW ORLEANS) – Community leaders and former colleagues, students, friends and family members of the late Norman E. McSwain, Jr. MD, congregated this morning for the renaming of University Medical Center (University Medical Center) New Orleans’ Level 1 Trauma Center to the Norman E. McSwain, Jr., MD Spirit of Charity Trauma Center.

“Dr. McSwain was a medical trailblazer and a hero to many,” said Gregory C. Feirn, CEO of LCMC Health and Interim CEO of University Medical Center New Orleans. “We are honoring the legacy of a giant in the field of trauma care and education by renaming the University Medical Center Level 1 Trauma Center to the Norman E. McSwain, Jr., M.D. Spirit of Charity Trauma Center.”

During the dedication, Merry McSwain, Dr. McSwain’s daughter, unveiled a plaque with the new name of the trauma center and a relief of Dr. McSwain. The plaque, which will be placed at the entrance to the Trauma Center, reads “Honoring Dr. McSwain’s passionate devotion to all patients and his pioneering advancements in trauma care and education.” The bottom of the plaque features Dr. McSwain’s favorite question, “What have you done for the good of mankind today?”

Speakers who joined Feirn included: Meg Farris, health reporter for WWL-TV, who gave the welcome address and introduced the speakers; Debra Guidroz, University Medical Center New Orleans Chaplain; Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, former president of the New Orleans City Council and former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives; Michael Harrison, NOPD Superintendent. 

Dan Kiff, director of trauma services at University Medical Center New Orleans, gave special recognition during the event to Chad Hoffman, Kenner Police Department Officer, for his life-saving application of a tourniquet to save a man’s life while on duty. Dr. McSwain launched and championed University Medical Center’s Tourniquet and Hemorrhage Control Course.

“Norman McSwain was one of a kind and he will forever be remembered for leading us to not only becoming a Level 1 Trauma Center, but one of the leading Level 1 Trauma Centers in the nation,” Clarkson said. “We are eternally grateful for his dedication to his patients, his students and colleagues and to the City of New Orleans.”

Superintendent Harrison said, “Dr. McSwain was a beloved member of the NOPD family. He had a passion for teaching others how to save lives, and that extended to training first responders in basic emergency medical techniques. From his service at Charity Hospital to his final years, whenever there was a wounded officer, it was a great reassurance to know that Dr. McSwain had been notified.”

By emphasizing immediate medical services to treat victims of gunshot wounds, Dr. McSwain helped set the standard for trauma care and was considered a pioneer in the field. He moved to New Orleans because he considered Charity Hospital to be one of the three most important trauma centers in the United States. He was recruited by the City of New Orleans to develop an Emergency Medical Services system for the City, and he initiated both the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic and EMT-Paramedic training for the City and established a citywide EMS system.

Internationally known in the field of trauma care, Dr. McSwain assisted the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma in development of the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program.

He provided care to severely injured police officers at Charity Hospital and has written or revised more than 25 textbooks, published more than 360 articles and traveled throughout the world giving 800 presentations.

Dr. McSwain was highly sought after for his expertise and helped to develop new and better battlefield trauma care techniques and training methods for the military. Although he shared his expertise and talents generously throughout the nation and internationally, he chose to stay in and care for the City of New Orleans.

The only verified Level 1 Trauma Center in South Louisiana, the Norman E. McSwain, Jr., MD Spirit of Charity Trauma Program at University Medical Center New Orleans continues a long history of providing care to critically injured trauma patients. A Level 1 Trauma Center has the highest level response for the major trauma patient, hosts trauma-related research, and serves as a resource for the community with prevention and outpatient care programs.

To learn more about the trauma program, visit umcno.org/trauma.

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