Victims of car wrecks, fires, industrial accidents and other serious incidents also will benefit from the plan unveiled Thursday at the 16-county Region 1 RTAC meeting.
The detailed regional trauma plan identifies resources and spells out protocols aimed at getting a badly injured person the most effective help as fast as possible.
“Studies show there’s a 25-percent reduction in mortality to patients transported to the right facility,” said Randy Pierson of Floyd Emergency Medical Services, chairman of the Region 1 EMS Council.
“That’s a lot,” he continued. “And it’s especially important to that 25 percent and their families.”
There are no Level I trauma centers in Northwest Georgia, but Floyd Medical Center in Rome and Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton have Level II ratings. Erlanger, in Chattanooga, Tenn., is the closest Level I center and is participating in the regional plan.
The RTAC will be a sub-committee of the EMS Council. It will report to the Georgia Trauma Commission, which is spearheading the formation of trauma plans in each of the state’s 10 regions.
Plans for a state system were shot down in 2010 when voters rejected a $10 add-on to car tag fees to fund it.
“It’s even more important now that regions focus on what they can do regionally, given that we didn’t pony up for statewide funding,” said Northwest Georgia Public Health District spokesman Logan Boss. “A large number of trauma deaths are preventable, and decisions are made in the field.”
A task force of volunteer stakeholders spent 11 months crafting components of the plan, which was adopted unanimously Thursday after the RTAC board members were named.
Among the major sections: pre-hospital response, hospital response, disaster response and pediatric response. There’s little pediatric trauma equipment or training at regional hospitals, said Joel Dishoon, EMS education coordinator at Erlanger Children’s Hospital.
“Y’all have a lot of work to do on the pediatric side down here,” he said.
Region 1 EMS program director David Foster said the plan would be submitted to the Georgia Trauma Commission for review today. A formal presentation is scheduled for the Commission’s next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 24-25 at FMC.
“There’s tons of work still to come,” Foster said. “The plan is the start of the journey.”
Data from participants — hospitals, ambulance services, 911 centers, surgeons, nurses and other stakeholders — will be funneled to a centralized communications point and used to improve services in the future.
Region 1 covers Floyd, Bartow, Chattooga, Catoosa, Cherokee, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker and Whitfield counties in Georgia. Facilities in Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina border counties also are involved in the plan.