Helicopters Trauma Patient Rescue Rate Higher Than Ambulances

Posted on April 17, 2012

If you’re involved in a life-threatening accident that requires immediate medical attention, then it’s imperative that you get to a trauma center as quickly as possible, and a new study suggests that you might be better off traveling by air than on the street.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has just published a study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine which claims that accident victims with severe injuries are 1 to 2% more likely to survive if they’re transported to a trauma center via a helicopter rather than via an ambulance.

In compiling their findings, the researchers looked at 224,000 patients that had to receive treatments, 162,000 of which traveled in an ambulance.  By taking the findings just at face value, ambulances come out on top, with an 89% survival rate versus an 87% survival rate amongst helicopters.  But once researchers factored in age, distance away, likelihood of survival, and other factors, the numbers reversed themselves and helicopters came out on top.

Researchers are quick to point out that this shouldn’t be used as a blanket scenario, and that each case should be taken on its own merits depending on distance and time factors.

I found this study incredibly interesting as a car accident lawyer in San Diego.  I regularly read stories about persons being rescued and transported to a hospital to receive injury treatments, but I never thought to consider which method of transport was safer.  I hope as a San Diego personal injury lawyer that this research is the first step to saving the lives of accident victims all across the country.

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