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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 5, 2010

Group focuses on forming designated trauma center

Advertiser Staff

A designated trauma center has long been on Hilo Medical Center's wish list, and a group has formed to make it a reality, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The Big Island Trauma Advisory Council held its first meeting Friday to discuss the future of trauma medical care in Hawai'i County. The council, made up of physicians, emergency responders and hospital leaders, was formed after the state Legislature approved funding in 2007 for the organization of a statewide trauma system in response to a 2005 study by the American College of Surgeons.

That study found, among other things, that the rates of unintentional fatal injuries on Neighbor Islands were more than double those for Honolulu across most age categories between 1996 and 2000.

Among the council's mandates from the state Legislature: improve and standardize trauma care; decrease transport times for trauma cases; increase specialty coverage such as orthopedics, neurology and surgery; and educate young people on preventing trauma.

According to the 2005 study, 50 percent of all deaths in Hawai'i those age 1 to 44 are trauma-related. Yet there are no trauma care centers on the Big Island, Maui or Kaua'i.