Survival of seriously injured patients first treated in rural hospitals

Richard J. Mullins, Jerris R. Hedges, Donna J. Rowland, Melanie Arthur, N. Clay Mann, Daniel D. Price, Christine J. Olson, Gregory J. Jurkovich

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Scopus citations


    Background Patients injured in rural counties are hypothesized to have improved survival if local hospitals are categorized as Level III, Level IV, and Level V trauma centers. Methods Data were abstracted on patients with brain, liver, or spleen injuries who were first treated in 16 rural hospitals in Oregon (with categorized trauma centers) and 16 hospitals in Washington (without categorized trauma centers). Logistic regression models evaluated survival up to 30 days after hospital discharge. Results Among Oregon’s 642 study patients, 63% were transferred to another hospital. Among Washington’s 624 patients, a higher proportion, 70%, were transferred. Risk-adjusted odds of death for Washington patients (reference odds, 1) were the same as for Oregon patients (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.53-1.28). Most patients died after transfer to another hospital. Conclusion In states with a prevailing practice of promptly transferring brain-injured patients, survival of these patients may not be enhanced by categorization of hospitals as rural trauma centers. To further improve the outcome of these patients, policy makers should adjust statewide trauma system guidelines to enhance integration and to perfect coordination among sequential decision makers.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1019-1029
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Trauma
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jun 2002


    • Injury
    • Rural
    • Survival
    • Trauma center categorization
    • Trauma systems

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery
    • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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