Client News Saturday’s Lead Letter- Clay County needs its own trauma center

Monday, March 25, 2013

In his opinion column, Tony Carvalho claims that “high volumes” of patients at trauma centers decrease mortality because trauma teams who see lots of patients become “experts.”

Are we to believe that trauma surgeons with decades of experience are somehow less competent than surgeons at the hospitals he represents?

In fact, a 2005 study conducted by the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California found that volume of major trauma admissions does not influence outcomes at Level I or Level II trauma centers.

Carvalho claims that “trauma patients have access to existing trauma centers,” but without the Orange Park Medical Center trauma center, there is no trauma center to serve Clay County or the surrounding communities.

Orange Park’s trauma center treated more than 1,000 patients in its first year of operation, showing the true need for trauma services in the area.

But now all of our community’s trauma victims must travel as far as Gainesville or Daytona Beach for care if Jacksonville’s “high volume” trauma center is at capacity with patients. This is well outside the “golden hour” for treatment and puts lives at risk.

Carvalho also points to recent court rulings that raised objections to the state’s current trauma rule. But Hospital Corporation of America’s trauma center applications were approved or well into the approval process before any court ruling.

Senior citizens still suffer falls, and area residents still need local access to trauma care. That’s why so many EMS and law enforcement officials, trauma patients, patient advocacy organizations and concerned citizens showed support for local access to trauma centers under a new state trauma rule during a recent Jacksonville workshop.

For Clay County, I hope the Florida Department of Health continues to put patients and our community first and tune out the falsities pushed by the critics, so all Floridians can have access to a better and more efficient trauma system.


Al Rizer is executive director of the Clay County Council on Aging.

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