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Organized trauma care could reduce disability after accidents

Traumatic injury after car accidents or falls demand immediate medical attention. A recent study shows that those treated for severe injuries at specialized trauma centers may survive with fewer disabilities than those at other hospitals. According to new research, patients fared better and even suffered less permanent damage when treated under "organized trauma systems." Under this arrangement, hospitals, emergency services and state government agencies have worked collaboratively to get patients to appropriate treatment facilities.

High-end trauma centers must meet certain requirements, including having a specific number of surgeons and specialists on duty 24 hours a day. The preparation and quality of care proves to be significant: meeting these requirements cuts the patients risk of death by 25%. It also reduces the chances of disability. While the study was conducted in Australia, it provides valuable insight for hospitals and law enforcement agencies in Texas and nationwide.

Of the 5,000 patients who suffered traumatic injury in an accident or a spinal cord injury resulting from a fall, those who were treated at Level 1 facilities were less likely to suffer from disabilities a year later. This evidence sheds light on the possibility for improving care centers as well as opportunities for patient care recovery.

High-level trauma care coordinates ambulance services, hospitals and local governments to ensure that patients are treated as quickly as possible at the right medical centers. Some U.S. states and counties have already implemented organized trauma systems, but many counties in Texas still do not have optimized care. According to professionals, the significance of this evidence demonstrates that organized, regional systems of care improve treatment and can prevent disability.

Source: Reuters, "High-level trauma care may limit disability," Amy Norton, May 5, 2012.

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