During the recent send-off event for Elizabeth Waltman, who is retiring as Chief Operating Officer of South Texas Blood & Tissue on April 1, she received a special honor: The THOR sword.
Waltman is part of an international group of blood banking and medical professionals who launched the Trauma Hemostasis and Oxygenation Research (THOR) Network.
The sword is awarded to a member of the organization each year in honor of their contributions to the THOR Network, and it is the responsibility of the previous year’s recipient to bestow it on his or her successor.
According to its website, the THOR Network is a “multidisciplinary group of clinical, translational, and basic science investigators with a common interest in improving outcomes and safety in patients with severe traumatic injury, allowing first responders to interact with academicians and for the scientists to educate the medics and paramedics on the latest research in the field of pre-hospital resuscitation.”
Research done in the THOR Network helped launch the Brothers in Arms program in San Antonio, which supplies low-titer type O blood to first responders for use in emergencies. It was the first civilian program of its kind in the United States and has expanded from medical helicopters to EMS units to San Antonio’s two trauma centers.
Also on hand at the event was another previous recipient of the sword, Dr. Philip Spinella, who is a Professor in the Department of Surgery and Department of Critical Care Medicine at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Spinella is one of the four founding members of the THOR Network.