Newsletter: Alumni Spotlight

Rich Falcone, MD

Collaboration helps prepare Polish Surgeons for Ukraine crisis 

Cincinnati Children’s has been a level 1 trauma center since 1993 and our clinical staff treats thousands of pediatric trauma patients annually, many of whom require the highest level of trauma care.

Richard Falcone

In 2007, the Pediatric Trauma Transformation Collaborative (PTTC) was created to help hospitals across the county who are seeking to maintain and/or obtain pediatric trauma verification through the American College of Surgeons. Our extensive experience in management of the injured child enables our team to expertly guide our partnering hospitals on the latest trends and best evidence-based practices regarding pediatric trauma injury prevention, resuscitation and management, ultimately improving the outcome for injured children on a regional and national level.

“Our goal is, not only for Cincinnati Children’s to provide the best care to an injured kid. We want all injured kids to have the best outcome possible.” The PTCC’s goal is to educate and partner with other hospitals to make sure injured kids are getting the best care. Falcone says by forming these collaborative partnerships, kids will be able to receive the care they need close to home, reducing the need to transfer patients for trauma care.

In 2017, a team from the Copernicus Hospital in Gdansk, Poland came to Cincinnati Children’s to understand what is necessary to develop a pediatric trauma system. At the time, there was not an organized pediatric trauma system. During this week-long visit that included simulation training, presentations and shadowing, the Copernicus team identified steps to develop their trauma program. Piotr Czauderna, from the Department of Surgery and Urology for Children and Adolescents Medical University of Gdansk, Poland, was a key member of the team.

When the crisis in Ukraine began, Czauderna and his team began preparing for refugees fleeing to Poland. He also wanted to help his neighboring surgeons and providers in Ukraine cope with the number and types of injuries they were suddenly treating. Czauderna decided to plan a webinar titled “Pediatric Combat Care” and reached out to Falcone for assistance.

PTTC Group Photo

Within about 10 days, Falcone, along with fellow Cincinnati Children’s surgeon Nelson Rosen, brought together several speakers from across the United States who had military backgrounds and surgical experience to speak about triage and issues with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives. The 90-minute webinar, hosted by Aesculap Academy, was presented on March 16 and nearly 400 people registered for the event, with 250 live viewers. The webinar was extremely timely, because the following day, the Russians bombed a theater that had the word “children” written in Russian on the ground in front of the building.

Unfortunately, the surgeons and providers in Ukraine and surrounding countries, like Poland, have had too much experience with combat triage and trauma surgery since the webinar. But thankfully, through global connections, they were able to have some additional training in pediatric trauma care. Attendees expressed their gratitude for the education session with online comments, such as “Ukraine is grateful for all support.”

How You Can Help

How to help the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We recommend donating to: 

If you choose a different organization to donate to, check to make sure they have established practices. Charity Navigator is a good place to get reviews on non-profit organizations. 

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