Trauma in Canada: A Spirit of Equity & Collaboration
The delivery of equitable trauma care in Canada is not without challenges within our universal health care system. Notably, the tyranny of geography is intermittently at odds with adequate access for our rural, indigenous, and impoverished populations. Other differences exist when compared with neighbouring trauma systems, for example in the United States.
As a critical review, we chose to compare and critique the overall system of trauma organization and perceived societal expectations of a high-income, North American country (Canada) to assist with discussions on trauma systems for the future.
Tele-technology is providing some early solutions. Trauma systems and delivery of care in Canada differ from the United States due to our single-payer system, regionalization and universal provision. Care for injured Canadians has a long history of being multidisciplinary, with collaborative research programs. Canada also has a history of global surgical endeavours, beginning with Dr. Norman Bethune and his recognition of the political causes of trauma and continuing as a global public health concern for all.
While challenges continue to exist for the provision of equitable trauma care in Canada, unique multidisciplinary, collaborative and technology-based solutions continue to be developed, both locally and globally, to address this critical public health issue.
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- "Reality check: RAPTOR economics in a publically funded healthcare system There is no private health-care system in Canada for severe multi-system trauma. Thus, all practical operating dollars originate from tax dollars in a single-payer system with universal provisions for access . In such a system, there is really no financial incentive to health care systems to obtain the latest technologies or provide advanced care. "
ABSTRACT: Traumatic injury is the leading cause of potentially preventable lost years of life in the Western world and exsanguination is the most potentially preventable cause of post-traumatic death. With mature trauma systems and experienced trauma centres, extra-abdominal sites, such as the pelvis, constitute the most frequent anatomic site of exsanguination. Haemorrhage control for such bleeding often requires surgical adjuncts most notably interventional radiology (IR). With the usual paradigm of surgery conducted within an operating room and IR procedures within distant angiography suites, responsible clinicians are faced with making difficult decisions regarding where to transport the most physiologically unstable patients for haemorrhage control. If such a critical patient is transported to the wrong suite, they may die unnecessarily despite having potentially salvageable injuries. Thus, it seems only logical that the resuscitative operating room of the future would have IR capabilities making it the obvious geographic destination for critically unstable patients, especially those who are exsanguinating.Injury 01/2014; 45(9). DOI:10.1016/j.injury.2014.01.021 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Severe traumatic brain injury is a major public health problem that accounts for one-third of all deaths due to trauma in the United States. This case report illustrates some of the challenges faced by the elderly in accessing essential emergency services for traumatic brain injury. A 74-year-old Caucasian man presented with head trauma at his local acute care hospital (level III/IV) in Canada at 2:30 PM. He was triaged at 4:00 PM and was seen by the emergency room physician at 4:50 PM. His vital signs were normal, and his Glasgow Coma Scale score was 15/15 upon admission. A computed tomography-based diagnosis of acute subdural hematoma was subsequently made by a radiologist at 5:00 PM. A neurosurgical transfer was requested to the nearby tertiary trauma center (level I/II), but was initially refused by the neurosurgical resident on call. The patient's condition slowly deteriorated until he became unconscious at 7:45 PM. The patient was intubated and transferred to the neurosurgical unit at 8:34 PM. He was seen by a consultant neurosurgeon at 9:30 PM, but surgery (craniotomy) was deemed not viable, given the patient's age and the fact that his pupils were now fixed and dilated (Glasgow Coma Scale score 3/15). The patient was taken off life support at 1:00 AM the following morning and died shortly thereafter. The patient's family made a formal complaint, but the decision by an independent medical review panel was that "[t]he patient's care was prudent, timely and professional." Geriatric patients with severe head injury are less likely than their younger counterparts to be transferred to neurosurgical trauma centers. Protocol-driven care of the elderly can reduce mortality due to head trauma through the application of the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines.Journal of Medical Case Reports 12/2014; 8(1):448. DOI:10.1186/1752-1947-8-448