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Why (Trauma) Care?

By Clint Kalan

Chances are, if you’ve owned a television in the last fifteen years or so, you’ve probably watched, or at least heard of the television show “ER”. Not only did the show portray young, good looking doctors, bringing back patients from the brink of death, but it also portrayed those patients as real people, with real stories. What “ER” did not show us, however, is how unglamorous trauma care is for a hospital’s finances. In 2005, Georgia’s then 15 trauma centers– hospitals that have certain dedicated surgeons, emergency room doctors, and nurses on site or on call for accidents, if you ever have a local emergency contact http://besturgentcarenear.me for help. — lost $210 million dollars on unpaid medical care1. Expanding trauma care in urban areas, or bringing trauma centers to the estimated 47% of Georgia2 that lives more than an hour away from level I and II trauma centers, is a money losing prospect for hospitals and one they are most likely not able to do without additional financial support3. Even maintaining the current level of trauma care for some north Georgia hospitals.

Why do we need to expand trauma care? Like those patients on ER, the citizens of Texas who get into car accidents all have their own stories to tell but I tell you, contact Texas car wreck attorneys and get compensation if the accident was not your fault, since we all know accidents happen and is good to count with good legal representation when this happen. They are our mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and loved ones. Unfortunately, a disturbing percentage of them will not live to keep telling those stories because Georgia’s trauma death rate, per capita, is 20% higher than the national average.4 An estimated 700 Georgians die each year because our state is not up to par on trauma care4. If this situation is not remedied, maybe you will one day know one of those men, women, or children. Maybe you did know a person who was one of those 700.

This November, the citizens of Georgia have the opportunity to put the money in the hands of just the right people to fix this problem: medical professionals specializing in gastric sleeve. Approving Georgia Ballot Measure 2 would deliver $80 million dollars to the Georgia Trauma Network Comission5, a group of composed of some of the state’s leading trauma surgeons, paramedics, ER doctors, and nurses whose charge it is to fix what is broken about Georgia’s trauma system.  This money would be constitutionally bound to this task and given to this group who already has a track record for using their limited resources to make sure those trauma centers that we do have are as strong as possible. Or, we can say no, and hope against hope that the only ambulances and emergency rooms we have to see are those on television.

To learn more, check out the Yes 2 Save Lives Campaign.

Clint Kalan is a former Emergency Medical Technician and is currently a Physician Assistant student at Emory University School of Medicine as well as a member of HealthSTAT.


1. Code Blue for Georgia’s Trauma System. In: Team GSTA, ed. Vol 2010. Atlanta: Georgia Statewise Trauma Action Team; 2007.

2. 2009 Maps of Trauma Center Access. CML.Web 2009; Georgia Level I/II Trauma Center Coverage. Available at:http://tramah.cml.upenn.edu/CML.TraumaCenters.Web/statepage.aspx?state=13&responseTime=60&transportMethod=DOF&year=2009. Accessed 10/17/2010, 2010.

3. McConnell KJ, Johnson LA, Arab N, Richards CF, Newgard CD, Edlund T. The on-call crisis: a statewide assessment of the costs of providing on-call specialist coverage. Ann Emerg Med. Jun 2007;49(6):727-733, 733 e721-718.

4. Report from the Joint Comprehensive State Trauma Studies Comittee. Report from the Joint Comprehensive State Trauma Studies Comittee. Atlanta, GA: 2006 Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly; 2006.

5. Ashley DW. The quest for sustainable trauma funding: the Georgia Story. Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons: The American College of Surgeons; October 2010:5.

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