UMC Thanks Community on One-Year Trauma Anniversary
University Medical Center Trauma Director John Porter, MD thanked the city's emergency services personnel and other Tucson hospitals on the first anniversary of UMC serving as Southern Arizona's sole trauma center.
University Medical Center cared for 4,414 trauma patients this year, a 47 percent increase over the same period a year ago, after budget constraints forced Tucson Medical Center to close its trauma center on July 1, 2003. UMC and TMC had operated a highly successful joint trauma program for 18 years.
After TMC's trauma program ended, Southern Arizona emergency protocols were changed so that trauma patients now are taken to UMC, or to the nearest community hospital when UMC's trauma center is overloaded. In the first year of the new trauma system, UMC cared for about 90 percent of Southern Arizona's trauma patients. The remaining 10 percent - about 500 patients - received care in the emergency departments of Tucson Medical Center, St. Mary's Hospital, Northwest Medical Center, St Joseph's Hospital, Tucson Heart Hospital, University Physicians Hospital at Kino, and El Dorado Hospital.
"We thank the EMS community and the other Tucson hospitals for making this new trauma system work. UMC could not have taken on this responsibility without their help and cooperation," Dr. Porter said.
Of the 4,414 patients UMC treated for trauma between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004, 580 were trauma "reds," the most seriously injured patients. UMC also cared for 947 "whites" and 2,887 "greens," the least seriously injured. The vast majority of the 500 trauma patients directed to community hospitals were greens.
UMC had estimated last year that as many as 1,200 trauma patients would need to be redirected to community hospital when UMC was overloaded.
"Fortunately we were able to accommodate many more patients than we'd projected by adding doctors and nurses, opening a new ICU and streamlining our operations," said UMC President Greg Pivirotto.
UMC plans to enlarge its emergency department by the winter of 2005. It is also trying to recruit more surgeons.
Mr. Pivirotto credited Tucson's Mayor Bob Walkup, the Tucson City Council, the Pima Board of Supervisors, Gov. Janet Napolitano and the Arizona Legislature for their leadership and support during the transition to the new trauma system.
"UMC and Tucson also owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Porter, who has shepherded our trauma program through its first year, and to the hundred of physicians, nurses and others who contributed their time and medical expertise to keep trauma services strong in our community."