Trauma . . . the number one social and health problem in U.S.

Trauma is a medical term used to describe a personal injury with multiple impact to the human body. This can occur through an accident or injury  inflicted intentionally when someone attempts to harm another. Physical trauma is a principal cause of death among Americans between the ages of 1 and 38 years of age. In the landmark paper, “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society,” (1966) the Regents of The American College of Surgeons called attention to a devastating national problem. The result was that the Federal Government pumped millions of dollars into 300 designated regions to improve emergency medical care. Twenty years later, The Committee on Trauma Research and National Research Council’s Commission on Life Sciences conducted a national study on trauma injury with the following significant findings:

Trauma accounts for more years of life lost in the United States than cancer and heart disease. In 1982, there were about 165,000 deaths due to trauma. Recent studies by the department of Health and Human Services indicate that the death rate for Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age has increased 50 percent since 1976. Motor vehicle accidents account for 40 percent of all deaths among white Americans.

In large urban areas, Black males have a 1 in 20 chance of ever seeing the age of 30 because of homicide. Urban violence is a serious problem with murders increasing from 8,464 in 1960 to 26,000 in 1982. The overall death rate of American teenagers and young adults is 50 percent higher than that of their counterparts in other industrialized societies. For each death in this country, there are at least two cases of permanent disability. Trauma kills our young and most productive citizens. It is estimated that the cost of death, disability and loss of productivity are in excess of 230 million dollars in lost wages. While the overall mortality rate for cancer has increased by only 6 percent from 1950 through 1977, the death rate for accidents has risen approximately one percent per year. These facts make trauma the number one health and social problem facing young Americans today.

Advertisements

Obamacare as controversy or answer

The high cost of medical care seems to be an over worked topic with no clear solutions.   Let’s start off with the notion that everyone will need medical care during their life.   It starts with birth and ends with the progressive move toward death. If a sudden catastrophic incident happens that terminates life, no care is needed.  A lot of young people don’t want to have to buy insurance; they rationalize they are okay — don’t need it. Obamacare has initiated the notion that everyone must have health insurance or face a penalty. I know of some who deliberately make sure they don’t earn an amount that would require them to purchase medical insurance.   Hey, that’s $400 they don’t have to earn. There’s  Medicaid! It’s milking the system and needless to say skirting responsibility for one’s health.

Trauma care and helicopter medevac are the most expensive medical services.  In the event of an emergency everyone in this country is entitled to receive medical care —- insurance or no insurance. Most folks don’t expect to have accidents or life changing medical events. None the less, they still happen at an alarming rate.

Helicopter cost impact for injured and industry

The Obama administration has sought to reduce the budget deficit by targeting Medicare and Medicaid subsidized healthcare through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. With the high cost of air medical transport.   Costs can range from $12,000 to $25,000 per flight. Typically, a helicopter is summoned by a first responder who feels the patient needs require helicopter transport. Of course, the injured at this point have no say in what is being done and there is no thought about cost. An unfortunate incident can leave a family faced with whopping bills they have no means of paying. Many hospitals took on a helicopter to increase their sphere of influence when Medicare decided to pay for helicopter transport. Many years ago, it was thought that 250 helicopter services could take care of the needs of the country. Today there are about 850 services across the country. Having recently experienced a service providing me need health supplies, deciding to suddenly discontinue my product which by the way, was a life-sustaining product, I wonder how Medicare insurance pay outs will affect the industry.

Some doctors are seriously questioning the use of helicopters and expense. A helicopter may not always be the fastest way to get to a hospital because they can’t always land close by.  Is anyone tracking fees on a national level and evaluating the real need for transport and the impact on survivability of the injured?   At the same time that all of this is going on, there is a movement afoot to cut Social Security that Americans have spent a life time paying into.

Prevention discussion

I am wondering if it is possible to really discuss helicopter medevac accidents and prevention on an internet platform.  Given the number of helicopter accidents people may be afraid of open discussion.  Still there is a wealth of knowledge and experience that might collectively have a positive impact and help address a knotty problem.  The Flight For Life helicopter accident in Frisco, Colorado in July is being looked at as a preventable accident.  The helicopter rotor blades are sited as being unstable.  Had there been discussion of this as a potential hazard and actual investigation into the actual performance of the rotor blades, the problem could have been addressed.  This particular accident cost the pilot his life and left others seriously injured.  By the time NTSB shows up to investigate a tragedy has already occurred.  Tell me what you think.