Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 19, 2012

Hoosiers can speak out about trauma experiences

The Herald-Tribune

-- — The Indiana State Department of Health will hold a trauma listening session Tuesday, July 24, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mid America Science Park, 821 S. Lake Road, Scottsburg. Citizens can stop in between those hours.

Larkin will make a short presentation and take questions, and the open-house style meeting will have information and displays staffed by Division of Trauma and Injury Prevention  experts. Three Continuing Education Unit credits are available to all EMS professionals from first responders to paramedics who attend.

Attendees will learn more about trauma, how state and local agencies currently respond to it and how a trauma system could help the state. Most importantly, facilitators will gather personal stories of how trauma has affected Hoosiers.

State health commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D., notes, “Trauma is a subject that impacted me early in life, and it’s something I care deeply about. Trauma affects many Hoosier families, and we want statewide participation as we continue to advance our state’s trauma care system.”

Traumatic injury is the No. 1 killer of Hoosiers under 45; the same is true across the country and worldwide. Injury is the fifth most common killer of Hoosiers of all ages.

Traumatic injuries kill young people in the prime of their lives, impacting society as a whole in health costs, lost productivity and emotional distress.

Motor vehicle fatalities are a special challenge for Indiana, as it ranks first in the nation for interstate highway miles per land area. And even though the death rate has decreased in the last 10 years, vehicle fatalities remain the No. 1 killer of Hoosiers ages 5-24.

Another concern for Indiana is the rural areas. Sixty percent of all trauma deaths occur in U.S. areas where only 25 percent of the population lives.

Injury prevention campaigns have gone a long way to decrease trauma deaths, but there is more that can be done. Indiana is one of only nine states without an integrated statewide trauma system. Indiana has elements of a system, such as emergency medical services providers, trauma centers and a trauma registry. The state health department wants to work with the public and its many stakeholders to advance Indiana toward a formal trauma system.

Where these systems are in place, they save lives. When trauma patients are transported to trauma centers, by ground or by air, the preventable death rate drops by 15 to 30 percent. Trauma systems correctly identify patients who need trauma care, anticipate needed resources for treatment, route patients to the correct facility and improve care through a quality improvement process.