From the Central Ohio Trauma Systems (COTS) First Quarter 2011 newsletter:
The COTS Regional (Trauma) Registry collects data on approximately 13,000 trauma patients annually who arrived at COTS-member hospitals for care. In 2009, the COTS Registry revealed that 772 trauma patients with serious injuries were transported by EMS to non-trauma centers within Franklin County. Although the State’s Trauma Triage Criteria allow for exceptions to transporting trauma patients to trauma centers, a question is raised:
why in Franklin County, with five verified trauma centers, would EMS choose to transfer injured patients with risk to life or limb to a non-trauma center, given that a trauma center is within a few minutes’ drive from anywhere in the county?
The COTS Registry reveals that of the 772 patients transported to non-trauma centers in Franklin County in 2009, 629 or 81% had NO physical findings consis- tent with the state’s existing trauma triage criteria. This means that these 629 trauma patients were “under-triaged” as trauma patients by EMS. One major factor in under-triage is EMS trauma triage criteria that fail to delineate symptoms or conditions indicative of signifi- cant trauma injuries.