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

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 15, 2012

The finding may be controversial, because a decision to transport rather than waiting to stabilize patients may result in faster ambulance speeds and an increase in collisions. But based on this research project, there's a statistically significant benefit in reduced mortality if patients are quickly transported, McCoy says.

He stressed that the finding only proved true for a minority of the traumatic injuries—those involving penetrating wounds such as stabbings or gunshot injuries, which were about 16% or 2,997 of the 19,167 trauma patients transported—not blunt force injuries such as falls or injuries from vehicle accidents. It also was only true for his hospital, a Level 1 trauma center in Orange County, CA, which is a largely urban area. 

McCoy says he does not know whether the findings would translate to a rural setting.

He also cautioned that the study is only the first of its kind, and "will not change the entire paramedic practice," which varies widely around the country. "We will need further studies to corroborate or refute our findings."

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