Baton Rouge – For more than half of Louisiana’s trauma victims, appropriate treatment after injury will be at best unorganized and at worst unavailable. Each year, more than a thousand Louisiana residents die from trauma-related death. The Regional Trauma-Patient Care Statewide System Task Force was charged to evaluate the trauma system in Louisiana and develop recommendations for system improvements and integration with Louisiana’s Homeland Security System.
The task force conducted nine regional meetings across Louisiana. Feedback from the regional meetings assisted the group in reaching its recommendations that include:
Pre-hospital care and access must be more integrated with the total health care system.
Enhanced communications among all members of the trauma care team is essential and will speed the deployment of resources, produce more appropriate triaging and result in enhanced patient outcomes.
A system of interrelated trauma centers based on public and private medical facilities located in geographically advantageous regions throughout Louisiana is critical. Currently, there are two Level 1 trauma centers in the state, one in New Orleans, the other in Shreveport. A significant portion of the state’s population is located in excess of 200 miles from a Level 1 trauma center.
The Trauma Task Force findings and recommendations were submitted to Gov. Mike Foster this past December. A copy of the Executive Summary is available at www.lhaonline.org/Bioterrorism/TraumaReport.htm.
According to Dr. Lester Johnson, task force chairman, when it comes to trauma and emergency response, time is truly a life and death matter.
“The system the task force is recommending will possess the distinct ability to match pre-hospital patient care needs with available hospital resources that will save lives,” Johnson said. “The system will include interrelated trauma centers; real-time, Internet and radio-based communication systems; trauma education programs for first-responders, health care professionals and the public; and a trauma research program to guide the delivery of trauma care and public policy.”
The task force believes educational programs are needed that provide interdisciplinary training of professionals currently engaged in the care of injured patients and train the next generation of health care professionals. Additionally, comprehensive injury prevention programs for the public are critical and necessary to reduce the need for trauma services in the long term.