"Quickly getting to a trauma center will very likely save your life if you are seriously injured, and we need to get more people basic access to these important hospitals," says the study's lead author, Charles Branas, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Penn.
According to the study, a prime way to increase access to life-saving trauma care was through medical helicopters, which provided access to about 81.4 million Americans who otherwise would not have been able to reach a trauma center within an hour. The authors concluded that more, well-placed medical helicopter bases would be a practical way to extend trauma-center access to suburban and rural residents who currently have none.
The debate over just how many Americans have access to trauma centers, and how quickly, has been unsolved since trauma centers were created in the 1970s. Researchers and policymakers were thus eager to know the effect of location and how they might geographically reorganize trauma centers, ambulances, and medical helicopters to improve access. The researchers used two new national databases, one based on the location of trauma centers and another on the location of helipads to ascertain their figures.
To improve access to trauma care in the United States, the researchers offer three recommendations select trauma centers based on the geographic need of the surrounding population, appropriately locate medi
Contact: Karen Kreeger
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine