KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Studies: Trauma Centers Would Be Strained By Patient Load In Terrorist Attack

 The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to experts and private studies, "[m]any urban hospitals lack sufficient medical staff, beds, equipment and 'surge' plans to provide optimal care for potentially hundreds or thousands of patients from a large bombing, emergency and trauma doctors say." 

The studies blame a lack of funding for trauma and emergency care, which hasn't improved since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, some doctors say, despite an abundance of money and tools like masks and drugs to combat a biological attack. "What's more, trauma victims tend to be disproportionately young and uninsured, leaving hospitals to absorb the cost of their treatment. Dealing with trauma patients also is expensive because of the 24-hour staffing required." Though theycan handle the severest of injuries, states lack regional systems that would route patients to the closest trauma center (Burton, 5/10).

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