When an accident happens and someone suffers a severe injury as a result, the most important thing is to get the person appropriate medical care. But when dealing with severe trauma, the place of treatment may have a significant impact on patient outcomes.
According to a recent study by the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research and the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, one out of every three patients suffering from major trauma in 2010 were “undertriaged” – that is, they received treatment from either a lower-level trauma center, or from a non-trauma center. Older patients in particular were more likely to be undertriaged.
The American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma recommends that patients with severe trauma be treated at either level I or level II trauma centers, which have the appropriate resources to deal with such injuries.
The risks of undertriage can be significant: the study’s lead researcher noted that previous studies had found that patients suffering from major trauma who were treated at level I trauma center had a 25% lower risk of death than those patients who received treatment from a non-trauma center.
A number of factors play a role in patients being undertriaged, such as the fact that nearly 43 million Americans live more than an hour’s drive from the nearest level I or level II treatment center. According to the study’s lead researcher, there are no easy solutions to the problem of undertriaged patients, as level I and level II trauma centers do not currently have the capacity to treat all major trauma patients.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a medical misdiagnosis and are seeking a qualified medical malpractice attorney, contact Los Angeles doctor-turned-lawyer Bradley I. Kramer for a free consultation today.