Magazine article USA TODAY

Trauma Teams to the Rescue

Magazine article USA TODAY

Trauma Teams to the Rescue

Article excerpt

A dedicated trauma service staffed by full-time specialists at hospitals can significantly reduce patient treatment times in the emergency department (ED), help reduce overcrowding, and lower death rates, a Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., study shows. Researchers compared trauma registry data at The Johns Hopkins Hospital for the three-year time periods immediately before (1995-97) and after (1999-2001) the hospital's implementation of a full-time trauma service.

"In a community like ours, where 80% of trauma patients live within a five-mile radius of the hospital, and where every other night there is a patient who needs to go directly to the operating room, it is imperative to have trauma specialists available around the clock," asserts Edward E. Cornwell, trauma chief. "Sometimes, by the time I get from my office to the ED in response to a call, the patient is already being brought in."

The hospital was designated a Level I trauma center in 1998, featuring 24-hour, in-house coverage by an attending trauma surgeon, a dedicated two-bed triage admitting unit, and a regular emergency care core curriculum for physicians, nurses, and medical students. …

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