Speaking up for trauma patients

Every unconscious patient in an emergency room is at risk for serious medication errors, even death. In these moments of trauma, clinicians must act fast. However, all too often both patient and doctor are at the mercy of a family member’s memory to know what’s in the patient’s medicine cabinet. With no way to access true medical histories, and the possibility of over 1,500 FDA-approved prescription medications, that kind of guesswork isn’t good for anyone.

Medication reconciliation is the cross-checking of home medications — including drug name, dosages and frequency — with treatments a patient may desperately need, whether or not they’re able to speak up. In emergency settings, there’s been no fast or accurate way of performing this procedure until now.

“VCU Innovation Gateway and the Commercialization Fund helped us get vital initial support to get our blood test invention to a proof-of-concept and move toward the market. Our test can potentially affect millions of lives. We are very excited for the future.”

Sudha Jayaraman, M.D., M.S., FACS
Associate professor
Department of Surgery

Sudha Jayaraman, M.D., and Dayanjan “Shanaka” Wijesinghe, Ph.D., have developed a novel blood test that can rapidly and accurately identify critical medications when incapacitated patients arrive at the hospital to ensure a more precise and safe treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that there are roughly 130 million emergency room visits per year in the U.S. Of these, 37 million are for trauma. A total of 12 million get admitted to the hospital and 1.5 million are admitted directly to the intensive care unit.

Jayaraman is an associate professor of surgery in the VCU School of Medicine and co-director of the Program for Global Surgery at VCU. Wijesinghe is an assistant professor in  both the VCU School of Pharmacy and the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Sciences. The pair is also a recent recipient of the Quest Commercialization Fund, which is dedicated to advancing VCU inventions and improving their chances of commercialization.