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Survey: Ontarians expect better access to trauma centers for serious injuries
Date:7/29/2011

for the most critically injured patients. Higher levels of trauma centres also have the staff and highly sophisticated medical diagnostic equipment to provide specialized emergency care such as neurosurgery and orthopedics. Some, including St. Michael's, have a helipad for receiving patients who need to be airlifted to the hospital.

Eighty-two per cent of those polled said they believed the hospital closest to them was capable of treating patients with serious, life-threatening injuries. Thirty per cent said they thought their closest hospital could treat brain injuries and 36 per cent said they though those hospitals could treat spinal injuries.

However, Dr. Nathens noted that of the more than 150 acute care hospitals in Ontario, only 11 are trauma centres, two of which specialize in children. All are located in larger cities.

St. Michael's is one of two level-1 trauma centres in Toronto, which means it treats the majority of multisystem trauma patients from the southern part of the Greater Toronto Area as well as South Central Ontario and treats the most complicated trauma cases from throughout the province.

After they had been informed of the definition of a trauma centre, only 42 per cent of those polled said their closest hospital was one. After receiving the information, 98 per cent said it would be important for them or their relatives to be treated at a trauma centre for serious or life-threatening injuries.

"This is not just about patient preferences," Dr. Nathens said. "It is about patient needs. Reaching a trauma centre first and fast will save lives. The trauma teams and resources are here, but they need to be better utilized. Lives depend upon it."

The leading causes of trauma are motor vehicle accidents, falls and assaults. Sixty-two per cent of those polled correctly identified car crashes at the leading cause of injury-related deaths.

The poll results were released just before the August l
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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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