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The Gainesville Sun: Danielle Branciforte: Trauma centers save lives

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

As the state coordinator of Florida Students Against Destructive Decisions, I travel around the state educating our youth about living safe, healthy and substance-free lives. Each day I see, first-hand, why local access to trauma care is so important.

To claim that trauma patients “already have access” to trauma centers as Tony Carvalho does in his column (“Ensuring quality trauma care,” March 15) doesn’t take into account the fact that entire counties and regions of Florida do not have a trauma center of their own.

Speeders, impaired drivers and red light runners are on our roads, threatening the students I work with every day. In fact, 1,000 Floridians are killed each year in alcohol-related crashes alone.

We should never have to grieve the loss of a young teenager’s life following a severe car accident simply because we refused to allow a trauma center in a community that needed one.

Carvalho may want patients to be treated at the “high volume” trauma centers he advocates for, but the experts know that getting patients to a trauma center within minutes is most important for saving lives. And studies have shown that patient volumes don’t necessarily impact patient outcomes at level I or II trauma centers as Carvalho suggests.

What’s more, each of Florida’s newest trauma centers are saving lives and were either approved or well into the approval process, before any court objection to the state’s current trauma rule.

Bottom line is, instead of arguing for the closure of these trauma centers, we need to put the lives of our residents and keep Florida’s trauma system as strong as possible under a new trauma rule.

Danielle Branciforte is Florida director of Students Against Destructive Decisions.

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