Remembering Dr. Norman McSwain, the man credited with building Charity Hospital’s trauma response reputation

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Dr. Norman McSwain, the University Medical Center physician who helped build Charity Hospital’s reputation for having a premier trauma response team, is dead at the age of 78.

McSwain often spoke with reporters following some of the most tragic deaths in New Orleans, often those of children or emergency responders.  He could detail the extent of the injuries and explain the complexities of administering emergency care.

But more often than not, trauma patients at Charity Hospital survived, giving the facility a reputation nationally as one of the best of its kind for handling trauma cases.

The people who considered McSwain a hero are commenting on his death.  Below is a statement from University Medical Center New Orleans and LCMC Health.

     University Medical Center New Orleans is grieving the loss of a beloved member of our family, a medical trailblazer and a hero to many. Dr. Norman McSwain saved countless lives, trained thousands of physicians and inspired an immeasurable number of colleagues, friends and patients. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

     As we mourn the loss of this medical giant, we continue to be amazed by the revolutionary impact he made on our hospital and the industry. Dr. McSwain’s talents made him highly sought after, but he chose to stay in and care for the city of New Orleans.  His decades of leadership have forever changed our community for the better.

     Though our hearts will be heavy as we open the doors to UMC New Orleans on August 1, we are deeply honored that Dr. McSwain was such an integral part of our organization. We will forever feel blessed to have called him our mentor and our friend.

McSwain also worked to help the city’s medical services recover after Hurricane Katrina.  In 2006, AARP honored him as one of its Persons of the Year for his work after the storm.  He also worked at the medical tent at Jazz Fest, helping any festival goers who partied a little too much.