Feb 27,2007 00:00
After a serious car crash when your survival depends on urgent helicopter transport to a specialized trauma center -- will you receive it? Most likely not, according to the findings of a first-in-the-nation study by Health and Safety Research, Inc., a
The findings are striking because for the study year,
The HSRI comprehensive one-year statewide study of the response of
A sophisticated methodology tracked the path and outcome of every involved person starting at the crash scene -- whether transported or not -- including helicopter and ground ambulance use, community or specialized trauma center hospital treatment, and inter-hospital transfers. Qualification for helicopter transport and/or trauma center care was calculated using state/national guidelines.
Among other major findings, the HSRI study shows that 83% of people who qualified for direct helicopter transport to a trauma center and 62% of people who qualified for direct transport (via ground or air ambulance) to a trauma center did not receive those resources. Helicopters did not arrive at 88% of the crashes, primarily because they were not requested. Survival varied by a factor of 3 between the state's five
"Advanced transport and hospital resources can't be effective when victims are not directed to them," says lead author Nicholas Mango. "The majority of severely injured persons qualified for advanced medical resources they did not receive. Had they received those services, we believe crash fatalities could be substantially reduced."