Trauma center renamed for Tulane surgery pioneer

The Level 1 trauma center at University Medical Center (UMC) was renamed in memory of internationally renowned Tulane University surgeon Dr. Norman McSwain on Wednesday (April 6). McSwain, who died in July 2015, was a pioneer in the field of trauma medicine and taught generations of residents and students at the Tulane University School of Medicine.

McSwain developed a system to provide medical services outside of a hospital setting to immediately aid victims with life-threatening injuries. He later helped to create a pre-hospital trauma life support program that is the global standard for trauma care. It was this pioneering work that inspired the renaming of the trauma center.

Law enforcement, military officials, first responders, medical students and trauma surgeons crowded a ballroom at the new UMC hospital in downtown New Orleans to pay tribute to McSwain and unveil a placard for the Norman E. McSwain Jr., MD Spirit of Charity Trauma Center.

“He was a visionary educator who became one of the greatest trauma surgeons in the country.”

Jackie Clarkson

“He was a visionary educator who became one of the greatest trauma surgeons in the country,” said Jackie Clarkson, former president of the New Orleans City Council and friend of McSwain. “He was one of the few to take charge whether he was in charge or not.”

WWL-TV news reporter Meg Farris led the ceremony. Clarkson, Greg Feirn, CEO of Louisiana Children’s Medical Center and interim CEO of UMC, and New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison all spoke of McSwain’s ability to cross boundaries, inspire teamwork and save lives.

McSwain’s legacy also lives on through the McSwain First Responders Clinic of the Tulane Health System and the Norman E. McSwain Jr., MD Trauma Conference, a daylong training event for emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses, firefighters and trauma surgeons. McSwain started the annual conference three years ago to bring national trauma experts to New Orleans to train first responders throughout the Gulf Coast. To support the conference, click here.

Kirby Messinger is a communication/marketing officer in the Office of Development Communications.