Further From Help Than They Need To Be

Some of the more at-risk populations lack easy access to trauma care

(RxWiki News) People who are most likely to need trauma care may have less access to hospitals that provide that care, according to a research article in the journal Archives of Surgery.

Renee Hsia, M.D., M.Sc., and Yu-Chu Shen, Ph.D., conducted an analysis of access to trauma care in urban and rural communities. They found, as other studies have also shown, that urban populations had easier access to trauma centers than rural populations. However, the researchers went further by studying the relationship between traditionally vulnerable populations and their access to trauma centers.

The results of this further analysis show that communities with a high proportion of certain vulnerable populations (African Americans, the poor, and the urban foreign-born) have an increased risk of difficult access to trauma care. Communities, whether urban or rural, with large African American populations face an increased risk of lack of access by about one third. Communities with many poor residents had an increased risk of approximately two-thirds. Urban communities with a high proportion of foreign-born residents were at twice the risk of having difficult access to trauma centers.

In total, an estimated 38.4 million Americans lack access to trauma care within 1 hour of driving time. In light of such alarming numbers, the authors conclude that health care planners should take into account these at-risk populations when developing trauma systems, or else delivery of care will continue to worsen.

Review Date: 
January 26, 2011