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Most Trauma Patients Not Transferred Within Mandated Time Frame in Illinois
Date:12/20/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Most trauma patients transferred between facilities in the state of Illinois don't make it to their final destination within the two hours mandated by the state.

But the most severely injured patients did make it within the time window, suggesting that physicians are appropriately triaging patients, according to a study in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

"If you didn't get there within two hours, it really didn't make any difference in markers of severity," said study co-author Dr. Thomas J. Esposito, chief of the division of trauma, surgical critical care and burns in the department of surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. "If left to their own devices, doctors may not need onerous advice on what to do."

"The [directive] is arbitrary and . . . probably doesn't matter in that the sickest people are being recognized and [transferred] more quickly," added Dr. Mark Gestring, medical director of the Strong Regional Trauma Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "The process is driven by how sick the patients are, and the truly sick patients are making the trip in enough time."

In fact, Esposito stated, there may be a downside to having such a rule.

"It sets up a situation in that someone can say you were supposed to get my loved one or my client here in two hours and that didn't happen . . . I'm looking for some compensation because you were out of compliance," he said.

And it may even overwhelm trauma centers with patients that don't really need to be there.

When patients are injured, they may not be near a hospital or trauma center that can help them, so are treated initially either at a local hospital, by emergency medical technicians or both.

"That [first] hospital can't finish the job, then the patient needs to move on aft
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