AN EMERGENCY room doctor at the Ballarat Hospital will draw on his experiences to lead a road trauma forum.
Doctor Jacyen Cruickshank will be guest speaker at Ballarat’s first road trauma forum organised by Road Trauma Support Services and Victoria Police on Tuesday.
The forum will hear presentations from people who have seen firsthand or experienced the devastation of road trauma.
Dr Cruickshank said he had treated numerous road trauma victims over the years who had “literally everything broken”.
He said there was one room at the Ballarat Hospital that all emergency room doctors dreaded following a road trauma incident.
“It is one particular room which is called the relatives’ room and it is just the room you never want to walk into,” he said.
“I can remember a few examples where I’ve had to go into that room and sat down with parents and had to tell them that their child has died.
“Sometimes they just break down when they see you, because they know, before you’ve even said a word.”
Dr Cruickshank said the seminar would focus on educating people on the main triggers of accidents, including the risks of using a mobile phone, the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and of being distracted while driving.
But Dr Cruickshank said the outcomes of those who had sustained lifelong injuries could also be devastating.
“Sometimes the family will never get that person back as they were,” he said. “There are times when somebody has been really seriously injured and you’re describing the head injuries to their family, the impact those injuries will have on the victim’s loved ones. It is a long road to recovery.”
Dr Cruickshank’s message is simple. “Have a plan, have a designated driver to get everybody home safely and don’t make a decision at two in the morning,” he said.
“If you’re intoxicated or your mates are putting pressure on you or you’ve taken drugs, you won’t be able to make a sensible decision even if you’d like to.”
His hope is that the forum will save at least one person’s life.
“My hope is that there will be at least one preventable death I will never hear about, one accident that will never happen,” he said.
“Every single road statistic is a person and we never lose sight of that.”
The forum will be on Tuesday, June 24, from 7pm to 8.30pm at the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts. For details, call Lorraine Yeomans on 0448 392 047.