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Leading Trauma Surgeon Paints a Bleak Picture of U.S. Trauma System - Calls for Surgeons to Advocate for Systems Where Lacking
Date:10/13/2009

f death for those under the age of 45 in this country and in developing countries around the world.

In addition, Dr. Eastman revealed that in a survey this year of trauma surgeons in each state, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population may not be covered by a statewide trauma system.

"Everyone living or traveling in the U.S. should be able to expect prompt transport to the appropriate level of care proportionate with their injuries," Dr. Eastman added. "That's the vision when I say that wherever the dart lands on a map of the U.S., there should be a system of care to take care of you if you suffer a traumatic injury."

Dr. Eastman also told the stories of several trauma victims who were fortunate enough to have access to a trauma system. Joining him at the presentation were Johan and Jenna Otter, a father and his daughter who survived being attacked by a grizzly bear in Glacier National Park in 2005 thanks to a trauma system that rescued and flew them to a hospital in Kalispell, Mont. then on to a trauma center in Seattle, Wash.

He also discussed the highly developed military trauma systems in Iraq and Afghanistan as an ideal trauma model, where the injured are rapidly transported from combat zones to sophisticated care, in field hospitals, combat support hospitals, the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and eventually to the continental U.S. In addition, Marine CPL William Gadsby, who lost his right leg in Iraq, was present to be acknowledged and pay tribute to the military surgeons in the audience.

Eastman called on his fellow surgeons to advocate for trauma systems in states or regions where fully developed systems are still lacking. He also addressed the need to include advanced trauma systems into health care reform discussion and initiatives, and the need for more trauma surgeons.

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