TORONTO, Ont., July 29, 2011More than eight in 10 Ontarians say they would want to be taken directly to a trauma centre if they were seriously injured, even if another hospital were closer, a new poll has found.
The poll, conducted for researchers at St. Michael's Hospital, also found that 40 per cent of respondents believe they can get access to a trauma centre within an hour of calling 911.
Neither event is guaranteed, said Dr. Avery Nathens, the hospital's trauma director.
Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of seriously injured adults in Ontario are taken to their nearest hospital first and most (69 per cent) are never transferred to a trauma centre.
Previous research by Dr. Nathens found that going directly to a trauma centre, even if it means bypassing a closer hospital, results in a nearly 25 per cent lower death rate, cost savings and improved quality of life among those who survive their injuries.
Getting to a trauma centre within that "golden hour" when treatment might make the difference between life and death is possible in major cities, Dr. Nathens said. But it's impossible in other parts of Ontario because of our vast geography. For these patients, the mean time between being injured and getting to a trauma centre in Ontario is almost six hours.
Dr. Nathens said the purpose of the poll was to promote public awareness of the value of trauma centre care. Once informed of the benefits, survey respondents rated the importance of timely access to trauma centres above that of access to elective surgical procedures, which are closely monitored in Ontario.
"It does seem odd that we monitor access times for elective surgery but there is no means of monitoring access to trauma centre care when lives are at stake," Dr. Nathens said.
A trauma centre is a hospital with a trauma team that includes specially trained personnel available 24 hours a day, every day, to provide immediate treatment
|Contact: Leslie Shepherd|
St. Michael's Hospital