Etomidate, extrication and Etsy

A Maryland Go-Team member shares his knowledge and passion with others


After 24 years working in the medical field, Bonjo Batoon has never turned down an opportunity. Starting as a registered nurse and now a certified nurse anesthetist at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center on the campus of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Batoon serves on the Maryland Go-Team and is opening his own online business, creating custom made-to-order paracord merchandize for medical professionals.

I spoke recently with Batoon, who summed up his motto. “It may be cliché. but do what you love to do and surround yourself with people who will make you better,” Batoon said. “I love helping people in their greatest time of need. Whether that’s performing a critical intervention, administering anesthesia, relieving pain and/or anxiety, or simply listening to a patient or holding their hand ... it’s all important.”

Batoon is following his passion with his career, keeping busy with advancing his education, family and his personal business.

Take a look at the journey of a Maryland nurse anesthetist at Maryland’s only adult primary resource center for trauma and neurotrauma.

ETOMIDATE: THE IN(TRO)DUCTION

Batoon obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Maryland School of Nursing in 1998. After graduation, he worked at several Washington, D.C., hospitals, including George Washington University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

“Knowing I needed critical care experience to meet the requirements for admission to nurse anesthesia school, I worked in a wide variety of critical care units including the post anesthesia care unit, surgical, medical and burn intensive care units and the MedStar Trauma Center,” Batoon said.

During Batoon’s nurse anesthesia training, he did a rotation at the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. After his 2005 graduation from Georgetown University with his masters in nurse anesthesia, he became a full-time staff member at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

“I am currently in my third year for my PhD in nursing from the University of Maryland School of Nursing,” Batoon added.  

Banjo Batoon has been a member of the Maryland Shock Trauma Go-Team for nearly 15 years. Once activated, the team can be transported to the scene by University of Maryland’s ExpressCare ambulance or a helicopter from the Maryland State Police Aviation Division.
The Maryland Shock Trauma Go-Team was dispatched to an incident with an entrapped driver. Bonjo Bantoon (second from right) was part of the team that responded and transport the patient by Maryland State Police Aviation to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. (Courtesy/ Doug Walton)
The Shock Trauma Go-Team created an advanced resuscitative team capable of providing anesthesia, surgical and critical care services at the point of injury and through the transport to a trauma center. (Photo/Courtesy of Doug Walton)
Banjo Bontoon designed his stethoscope holder, with a copper wire, paracord cover and a hook, because he disliked the feeling of his stethoscope around his neck.

The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center is the only primary adult resource center in Maryland for trauma and neurotrauma. They admit over 7,000 people annually with the largest percentage of admission coming from falls, followed by motor vehicle collisions and violence. To date, the center has cared for more than 200,000 people. The center receives nearly 80% of its patients from ground EMS units with the remaining coming by air medical providers.

“These are people who get up each day, leave their home for work or school and end up here at Shock Trauma. Our team is committed to giving every person a second chance,” Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Thomas Scalea, told me.

“Caring for critically ill patients has always interested me, especially those afflicted with trauma-related injuries,” Batoon said. “I like knowing that the skills that I have learned and developed over the years can be used to save lives, reduce pain and improve outcomes for those that are severely injured.”

Batoon added that when severely injured patients come to the center, he has several immediate actions that can impact the patient including securing an airway, obtaining vascular access, including venous, central or arterial lines and beginning the resuscitative process in the trauma bay.

“Dealing with trauma patients is a team sport and there is a great deal of comradery among the staff at the Shock Trauma [Center]. All team members take great pride in the care that we provide for our patients, and I love that input from all members of the staff is valued,” Batoon said.

One of the most important missions of the Shock Trauma Center is training the next generation of trauma and critical care providers, according to Batoon.

“I’m involved in the training of nurse anesthesia students, Maryland state troopers, flight paramedics, and emergency and critical care residents’ airway skills during their rotations,” Batoon said. “Being a CRNA at Shock Trauma, I get to use my skills at the point of injury as a member of the Shock Trauma Go-Team.”

EXTRICATION: THE GO-TEAM

The Shock Trauma Go-Team was developed to reduce the delay in delivering definitive care to entrapped victims.

“The Shock Trauma Go-Team created an advanced resuscitative team capable of providing anesthesia, surgical and critical care services at the point of injury and through the transport to a trauma center,” Batoon said.

The team, consisting of a Go-Team physician and Shock Trauma CRNA, come from a variety of backgrounds, including trauma surgery, trauma orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine or anesthesiology, and all have a background in EMS, added Batoon. Once activated, the team can be transported to the scene by University of Maryland’s ExpressCare ambulance or a helicopter from the Maryland State Police Aviation Division. The team can be sent to any incident scene in Maryland when requested by a pre-hospital clinician.

Batoon has been a member of the team for nearly 15 years. “Initially, just as a member, but then I got involved in updating the Go-Team Anesthesia bag with a few of my colleagues, developing and implementing simulation training and I frequently give talks throughout Maryland discussing the capabilities when to call the Shock Trauma Go-Team,” Batoon said.

ETSY: ONLINE BUSINESS

Work, school and family life keep him busy, but 10 years ago, Batoon opened an online Etsy business, “ParacordBo,” after being introduced to paracord by his wife’s family from Charleston, South Carolina.

“They were making cool bracelets, lanyards and zipper pulls, and thought, I could make cool things too,” Batoon said.

Batoon said he started playing with paracord and made some bracelets and lanyards that he would wear to work. His coworkers noticed and would ask him to make personalized items.

“They would show them to their friends and on social media, and before I knew it, I was getting orders from all over the place and needed an organized platform to sell my products ... and that’s how my Etsy story got started,” Batoon said.

Each piece is custom-made-to-order and handmade by Batoon.

“My most popular item is the paracord stethoscope holder, which is made of copper wire with a paracord cover and your choice of hook,” Batoon said. “This product was developed because I disliked the feeling of my stethoscope around my neck.”

Batoon’s first stethoscope holder was fashioned after many trials, using endotracheal tube stylets that could hang from scrub pants. As the product developed, Batoon added hooks, which resulted in the final product.

“I also make custom ID lanyards, bracelets and bag tags. All the tags I make are unique, in that they are hand stamped by me,” he said.

Batoon believes in being a lifelong and active learner. He said that in his 24 years of nursing, 16 of those being a CRNA, he has learned a great deal. “I make it a practice to learn something new every day,” he said.

“Take advantage of opportunities that arise, if feasible,” Batoon added. “You never know where they will take you. Lastly, share your knowledge and passion with others, you never know who you might inspire or who they might save.”

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