Hospitals all across the United States are adding on specialized trauma centers at an incredible pace, as American populations go up and boards of directors look to turn greater profits. But are they all needed?
Let’s look at the facts, as reported in USA Today. Since 2009, over 200 trauma centers have been opened. In addition, another 75 hospitals are seeking approvals to build them.
Are states like Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas in danger of becoming over-saturated with trauma centers?
Is such a thing even possible?
Ironically, the current trend is the reverse of what was occuring in the 90s and early 00s, where trauma centers had been closing across America. This seems indicative of a cycle, where trauma centers are built as hospitals turn profits, and close them when the running costs become too high. Judging by the record additions being made by hospitals across the U.S., we would appear to be in the former.
Are “medical tourists” poised to overtake traditional air medical patients as the leading users of international air ambulance services? It could happen — one day.
Yesterday, in fact, a UC lecturer expressed his concerns on the growth of international medical tourism, noting that its current booming status is the result of the failure of some governments to respond to increasing demands for public health services.
Earlier this month, the air ambulance service FDN (Flying Doctors Nigeria) went on the record in Nigeria’s The Nation to state that its purpose is “not” to promote foreign medical tourism.
Earlier this year, Iranian President Ahmadinejad boasted of advances in medical science and technology, purporting that Iran is now welcoming about 30,000 international medical tourists into its healthcare facilities each year.
For eight weeks, London’s Air Ambulance will be testing out General Electric Healthcare’s portable “Vscan,” which will allow them to non-invasively see inside a patient’s body before a transport.
The ultrasound device — roughly the size of one of today’s smartphones — is not only extremely portable, but also produces a clear, high-quality image for quick, accurate readings by clinicians in emergency situations.
Why is this so important? By scanning patients before an air transport, you can assess the presence of fluid in areas of the body and identify other life threatening conditions. Unchecked, fluid build-ups can cause compression of the heart, a condition that often requires an emergency surgical procedure.
According to GE Healthcare, London’s Air Ambulance is intending to use the Vscan for FAST scanning — Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma. This will, among other things, allow the emergency service to rapidly assess the presence of blood on the abdomen, pelvis, and pericardium.
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What is Air Medical Net?
Air Medical Net (AirMedical.net) is a bi-weekly online magazine dedicated to discussing the latest news, topics, and issues facing professionals in the air medical transportation field. Readers of Air Medical Net are highly encouraged to follow us, get social, and add to the discussion with their knowledge and opinions.
Our blog provides a wide range of essential reading for pilots, air ambulance crews, as well as prospective users of air ambulance/medical charter services.
Last week, a pilot for the American airline JetBlue suffered injuries to one eye as a result of a green laser being shone into the cockpit. Authorities have yet to find the person responsible for the senseless act. The FAA and the FBI are both investigating the incident.
According to an FAA report, the incident occurred on a Sunday when Flight 657, carrying 84 people, was flying to NYC’s JFK airport from Syracuse, NY.
The green beam shot into the cockpit through the windshield of the Embraer E190 and hit the first officer in the eye. On the ground, the control tower received immediate notification of the incident.
According to a live tape of the incident, the pilot who contacted the tower told the tower, “We just got lasered up here. Two green flashes into the cockpit,” adding that the flashes “caught the first officer in his eye.”