FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The State Health Commissioner visited Fort Wayne to discuss developing a statewide trauma care system.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, traumatic injury is the number one killer of Hoosiers under age 45. The Dept. of Health wants to change that, and Fort Wayne plays a major role.
Dr. Gregory Larkin, State Health Commissioner, defines a traumatic injury or illness as a severe head or brain injury, multiple broken bones, or comas and/or unconsciousness.
“We’re not talking about the fall where you need stitches on your forehead, but the type of severe trauma injury or illness that’s associated with agricultural or farming equipment, motorcycles, and automobile accidents,” said Dr. Larkin.
Dr. Larkin stopped in Fort Wayne at the Public Safety Academy Wednesday as part of his Statewide Trauma Listening Tour. The tour is about getting health agencies in each region across the state to discuss developing an integrated trauma care system.
“Without such a system you’re having a higher percentage of severe deaths that could be avoidable if the patient got into the right care center as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Larkin.
A trauma system includes emergency medical services, such as ambulances and fire departments, and hospitals with trauma centers. In a system, all agencies across the state would work together to provide the best preventative care. Indiana only has eight trauma care centers compared to Ohio’s 40, and two are in Fort Wayne. Other trauma centers are located in Evansville, Indianapolis, and South Bend.
“Fort Wayne’s extremely fortunate,” he said. “For this size community, that’s admirable.”
Fort Wayne has two Level II trauma centers, one at Lutheran Hospital and the other at Parkview Regional Medical Center. Fort Wayne is tied with Evansville on the number of trauma centers, and ranks behind Indianapolis, which has three Level I trauma centers.
Dr. Larkin says Level I is the highest rank, and includes a full range of specialists and equipment that’s available 24-hours, along with a medical education program for doctors in-training. Level II trauma centers do not have medical education programs.
“As far as the patient goes [in this area], there’s not much difference in the highly skilled care one gets,” he said.
According to the Dept. of Health, Indiana ranks first in the nation for interstate highway miles per land, causing more Hoosiers to die from vehicle accidents or related injuries. Also, 60 percent of trauma deaths occur in areas where only 25 percent of the population lives—like rural Northeast Indiana. Dr. Larkin says that's why setting up a statewide trauma system is critical.
“Studies show that when a trauma care system is in place in a state, that you have a reduction of morbidity and mortality, that's injury and death, by up to 30 percent,” he said.
Indiana is one of only nine states in U.S. without such a system. In 2006, the State Legislature charged the Dept. of Health to develop a statewide trauma care system, and Dr. Larkin says they’ve been working on it ever since.
What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "Your2Cents” comment.
© Copyright 2013 A Granite Broadcasting Station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.