To most, South Carolina has little in common with Darfur, the developing region in Sudan, Africa, known for the war that started in 2003 and continues to this day.
But when it comes to the treatment of traumatic injuries, there is a striking similarity, according Spartanburg Regional’s newest orthopaedic trauma surgeon.
“The nature of trauma and how disruptive it is to life is the same here as it is in Darfur,” Kurt Yusi, MD, said.
Dr. Yusi should know. The Greenville native has dedicated his career to international medicine and the treatment of traumatic injuries.
Dr. Yusi served in Korea and Iraq as an officer in the Army, and worked in Khartoum and Darfur as an information officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
He has also helped trauma victims in San Francisco and Nashville, Tenn.
“Trauma affects everyone,” Dr. Yusi said. “It’s indiscriminate.”
The key to trauma care, Dr. Yusi said, is recognizing that treating the wound is only part of the work to be done.
“Trauma is a holistic problem,” Dr. Yusi said. “You don’t just get injured. It hurts your ability to make money, to participate in life.”
It’s also a diverse problem – traumas can include falls for both the old and young, automobile crashes, loss of limbs due to diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Many traumatic injuries can be prevented with education and changes in lifestyle.
That means making sure the elderly live in secure places where they are less likely to fall and helping companies provide safe environments for their workers.
“There’s opportunity to help at both ends of the age spectrum,” Dr. Yusi said.
After years of travel, Dr. Yusi and his wife, Erin Dainty, MD, decided to settle in Upstate South Carolina. His mother lives in Greenville, and her parents lives in Waynesville, N.C.
Dr. Dainty, an obstetrician-gynecologist, who has also worked around the globe, has also joined Spartanburg Regional.
“Medicine is not a nine-to-five job,” Dr. Yusi said. “It’s your whole life. We wanted to surround ourselves with a community that cares about the same things we do.”
They found that community in the Upstate … and at Spartanburg Regional, where Dr. Yusi said he was impressed with all the different facets of trauma care. Ambulance crews, nurses, lab staff, doctors, therapists and more are all crucial to making sure a patient gets back to the life he or she lives.
“Trauma is a team sport,” Dr. Yusi said. “I’m just one player.”
Learn more about Spartanburg Medical Center's Level I Trauma Center.