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Root Fishing Tourney next weekend

July 3, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

A benefit will be held next weekend for avid fishermen who want to participate in a catch, photo and release tournament, which will benefit the Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital.

Dave Root, owner of D&D Bait and Tackle, said they lost their son in a car accident in 2001 on Pine Island, which led to the idea of starting the tournament.

"Our son David never made it to the trauma center," Root said, because emergency personnel were unable to fly him there.

Root said the first couple of years that the tournament was held, the money raised was for the fire department.

Almost an exact year later, Root said his son Dustin was in a car accident in Punta Gorda. Dustin was flown to the Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital after the accident, which prompted the tournament benefitting the center.

Dustin was in a coma for two weeks. Root said he is doing fine now because of the Trauma Center.

Fact Box

To Go:

What: 10th Annual David Lee Root Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament

When: Saturday, July 14 at 7 a.m.; captain's meeting Friday, July 13.

Where: Pine Island area waters

Cost: $50 per angler, $25 for those 12 and under.

Registration: 239-282-9122 or online at or

Over the past nine years the tournament has raised $109,935 for the Trauma Center, which opened in July 1994.

Dr. Drew Mikulaschek, trauma surgeon, said the center serves all of Southwest Florida, which includes Lee County, the populated western half of Collier County, Glades County, all of Charlotte and Hendry counties, and spots of Highland County. He said depending on weather, along with a few other factors, they can extend their services.

The closest other trauma centers are in Tampa and Miami.

Mikulaschek said they like to have six trauma surgeons at the center due to the 24-hour shifts they cover. There are two trauma surgeons on call at any given time as well.

The Trauma Center also has four physician assistants and an entire office staff that is responsible for a variety of functions. One of those functions includes the Trauma Prevention Program, which is run by two dedicated staff members who go out into the community and teach about trauma prevention.

Mikulaschek said they probably have an office staff of about 17 people.

The Trauma Center also utilizes a good portion of the other resources that go with the hospital, which includes a much larger staff base that contributes to the overall well being of the patient.

"There are a lot of people in the hospital to take care of the trauma patient," he said.

The Trauma Center is important to Southwest Florida due to what is known as the golden hour.

"If you wind up having an injury that is life threatening, it has the potential to kill you due to bleeding, which is one of the more common problems with trauma. Your chances of recovering from that injury is at best if you have someone intervene within the first 60 minutes after injury takes place," Mikulaschek said. "It is imperative to get the patient to the Trauma Center within the first 60 minutes of sustaining that injury."

There are three or four different transporting agencies that have helicopters that provide their services to the Trauma Center and 11 or 12 EMS agencies that transport patients to the center.

Mikulaschek said the paramedics that are on scene make the determination based on a lot of criteria if that patient is determined to be a trauma alert, which is a patient that is called in a head of time to the Trauma Center.

"The whole gang assembles and wait that patients arrival," he said.

The Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital sees an average of 80-100 patients a month, give or take about 10. In the 13 years that Mikulaschek has been a surgeon at the center, he said he has seen as many as 165 patients a month.

The last three or four years have been consistent with 80-100 trauma patients a month.

In addition, another 10-20 patients are seen at the Trauma Center after it is determined by X-rays and CAT scans that the patient needs the services of the center.

Mikulaschek said the Trauma Center has been known to "clearly save lives" for the last 34 years. He said in the late '70s in California, the survival rate for patients that had significant injuries without a trauma center was high.

On average 25-30 percent of patients died without the trauma system in place.

"With the system, that number drops to 5 percent," Mikulaschek said.

With a trauma center in place, now they look at death as preventable or non-preventable. He said if it was a preventable death, they have to look and see if they could have done something different that would have saved the person's life.

"Preventable deaths we try to improve upon," Mikulaschek said.

For the Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital, preventable death are under 1 percent of the patients that have to visit the center.

The Trauma Center also saves the hospital money.

"As a trauma system, we not only save lives, we do it in a more cost efficient manner," he said.

It is more cost efficient, he said, because of their experience, training and knowledge to know what needs to be done - when to intervene and how to anticipate complications that occur.

Seventy-five percent of all of the Trauma Center patients at Lee Memorial Hospital are from car accidents and falls, according to Mikulaschek, which is mostly elderly.

"A significant number of our patients are elderly simply because of where we live," he said.

The patients seen at the Trauma Center is 10-12 years older than the national average.

"That is huge because you are more likely to have other diseases to affect you to heal and recover from devastating injuries," Mikulaschek said.

The 10th Annual David Lee Root Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament, which is for snook, redfish, trout and a mystery fish, will be held on July 14. Root said the anglers can go fishing anywhere as long as they take a photograph of what they caught.

Over the years, he said on average they have 60 boats participate in the tournament, which averages about 200-250 anglers.

"It has really come up over the years," Root said.

Registration, which is open until the captain's meeting on July 13, is $50 per angler and $25 per youth angler 12 years old and younger. The tournament will kick off at 7 a.m., on July 14, with the weigh-in being held between 3:30 and 4 p.m.

"After that everything is closed," he said of the registration.

Those interested can call D&D Bait and Tackle at 239-282-9122, or visit or to register.



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