Hypothesis: Teaching hospitals (TH) can maintain the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT) criteria for Level II trauma care more consistently than can community hospitals (CH). Methods: A retrospective analysis of 2,091 trauma system patients was done to determine if TH in an urban area are better able to meet the criteria for Level II trauma care than are CH. During the study period, a voluntary trauma plan existed among five hospitals; two TH and three CH. A hospital could accept patients that met trauma system entry criteria as long as, at that moment, it could provide the resources specified by ACSCOT. Hospitals were required to report their current resources accurately. A centralized communications center maintained a computerized, inter-hospital link which continuously monitored the availability of all participating hospitals. Trauma system protocols required paramedics to transport system patients to the closest available trauma hospital that had all the required resources available. Nine of the required ACSCOT Level II trauma center criteria were monitored for each institution emergency department (ED); trauma surgeon (TS); operating room (OR); angiogaphy (ANG); anesthesiologist (ANE); intensive care unit (ICU); on-call surgeon (OCS); neurosurgeon (NS); and CT scanner (CT) available at the time of each trauma system entry. Results: With the exception of OR, TH generally maintained the required staff and services more successfully than did CH. Further, less day to night variation in the available resources occurred at the TH. Specifically, ANE, ICU, TS, NS, and CT were available more often both day and night, at TH than CH. However, OR was less available at TH than CH during both day and night (p>.01). Conclusions: In this community, TH provided a greater availability of trauma services than did CH. This study supports the designation of TH as trauma centers. A similar availability analysis can be performed in other communities to help guide trauma center designation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine