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Delay in Transporting Some Trauma Patients Linked to In-Hospital Mortality

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 15, 2012

For patients with serious penetrating trauma injuries, emergency medical transport teams should "scoop and go" rather than "stay and stabilize" the patient because staying at the scene for 20 minutes or more increases the patient's chance of in-hospital death.

That's the conclusion of a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine based on a 14-year project that tracked 19,167 trauma patients treated at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, 865 of whom died.

"If the paramedics stay on the scene longer than 20 minutes, you'll start to see an increase in mortality," explains C. Eric McCoy, MD, UC Irvine's base hospital medical director and principal author of the study. 

He says that it doesn't matter how long it takes for the ambulance to transport the patient to the hospital, it's just important that emergency responders move the patient from the scene of the incident as soon as possible.

It also doesn't matter if the ambulance must travel a longer distance, bypassing non-trauma hospitals to go to a trauma center. The important thing is to minimize the time in the field, at the scene.

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