Trauma M.D. Bemoans Emergency Care
The American who suffers accidental death and disability is the “forgotten man” in health care services, according to Dr. Curtis P. Artz, Charleston, S.C., president of the American Trauma Society.
“Every citizen is entitled to fast and effective emergency medical services,” he said, “and yet thousands of Americans succumb needlessly each year to accidents on highways or at home.
“Worse, perhaps, are many others who live on impaired for life because of inadequate—or totally absent— care in the first critical hour.”
Speaking at the society’s annual meeting in Chicago, Dr. Artz, chairman, department of surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, said the situation is “especially disgraceful because, unlike some other health problems, the solution is already known.”
The life-support means to save the trauma patient, he said, are “not mysteries locked in a research laboratory.
“Medicine knows the answers, and it’s only a matter of delivering this expertise promptly to the patient.”
Dr. Artz called for new methods of delivering emergency medical services using emergency medical technicians, speedy communications, specialized hospital emergency department physicians, and specialized trauma nurses.
This does not mean “continuing the trend toward more and more expensive medical care,” he said.
“The medical profession and civic leaders,” Dr. Artz said, “must recognize the needs of our citizens and lead the way in promoting statewide plans for emergency services.
“What we’ve got to do is to get the public moving on this problem, just as they have through other voluntary health agencies. It takes time, effort, and money for citizens to mobilize themselves to demand effective emergency health service programs at the local level.”
He cited the “very promising system adopted in Illinois, by which almost 50 hospitals are linked in a radio and ambulance trauma network credited with cutting the fatality rate at accident scenes by almost 40 percent.
The American Trauma Society was organized in 1971 following a recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, which called accidental death and disability “the neglected disease of modern society.” The society aims to establish state divisions and county units nationwide and now has chartered state divisions in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.