Gun violence has been in the news recently and specifically gun violence in Chicago because of recent high profile funerals and events there. Now I’m not going to get into the whole gun control debate. This is not the forum for that discussion and frankly, I don’t know where I fall on that continuum. I did, however, find an article at EMSWorld.com that talked about a recent initiative in Chicago to get an inner city trauma center reopened there to improve access to trauma care in the city.
Chicago’s Extra Trauma Centers
The University of Chicago Medical Center Trauma Department closed 25 years ago due to budget cutbacks at the time. Student activists from the university are pushing for the trauma unit to reopen to better serve the inner city violence victims featured so prominently recently in the news. The article points out that closed trauma centers are located across the country and that many of them are in underserved inner city or rural communities. The challenge is that there is still conflicting data about the efficacy of major trauma centers in changing morbidity and mortality rates among those with major traumatic injury.
For Chicago, there are 6 designated trauma centers within 30 minutes transport of downtown areas. Proponents of the current setup point out that these centers serve the area well and there is not a real need to have another trauma facility open (or re-open) in the city. The CDC says that level 1 trauma centers in EMS systems lower the risk of death for major trauma by 25% but it doesn’t designate a preferred transport window.
Trauma Centers and the Golden Hour Myth
I’ve talked here recently about the doubts about the existence of the “golden hour.” You can check out those articles on the MedicCast blog at MedicCast.com/blog for yourself as well as the excellent discussion on the topic of the golden hour at Roguemedic.com. All in all, I think in this time of continuing budget cutbacks opening a new trauma center in the midst of 6 other trauma centers doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What do you think? Let me know by email at Podmedic@mac.com or leave a comment right here on the MedicCast site.
Check out the links for this news item and all of the other resources in the show notes for this episode of the MedicCast — Dr. Kevin Seaman on Cardiac Arrest Survival and Episode 324.