Reducing Mortality: It's About Time
An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, January 26, 2006, titled A National Evaluation of the Effect of Trauma-Center Care on Mortality documents a 25% reduction in the case mix adjusted mortality rate for trauma patients when treated at trauma centers compared to care at non-trauma centers. Mortality rates decline as new trauma centers are established in the underserved areas. Florida’s statewide trauma center mortality rate decreased from 6.8% in 2002 to 4.8% in 2009 (Florida Dept.of Health, Florida Trauma System Strategic Plan, January 2011 – December 2015, p.41)
Trauma Service Area 13, with its elderly demographics, offers Blake and partner USF Health, some unique opportunities to improve trauma care. The Area was ranked as having the fifth highest mortality rate in the state for traumatic brain injury, seventh for falls and eighth for motor vehicle injuries, according to the March 2008 Florida trauma research report. The elderly are at a higher risk for poor outcomes in trauma due to other medical conditions present at the time of injury.
Until now, no trauma center has been located within our Manatee, Sarasota and Desoto County Trauma Region which resulted in trauma patients being transported north to St. Petersburg or Tampa, east to Lakeland or south to Lee County.
This is not ideal for two important reasons. The first is time, which is absolutely critical in traumatically injured patients, where minutes can be the difference between life and death. The second is the hardship placed on the family, who must travel great distances to be with a family member after a traumatic injury. Now that Blake has a designated Level II Trauma Center, patients and their families can get the care they need, close to home.