It would be tragic if the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors closes the trauma center at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.
It is the shining star of hospital services. It saves thousands of lives every year. Yes, it is very expensive and most patients are indigent and don't have insurance. But the supervisors don't have a cogent plan for what to do with all these patients.
King/Drew treats the largest number of penetrating wounds annually of any trauma center in the city, except for County-USC Medical Center. Approximately 45% of the traumas are gunshot wounds or stabbings. Now let's think about that fact for a minute. There is only so much blood in the body that can hemorrhage until the patient is dead. A gunshot victim does not have the luxury of riding through traffic looking for treatment in another ZIP Code. There is a golden hour in trauma, often only golden minutes, and that can be the difference between life and death.
The supervisors are not proposing to close a library. They are proposing to cut off the community's life support. The supervisors divided the service areas of county hospitals and decreased the number of trauma cases at King/Drew. They had hoped to cut the numbers from 2,400 to 1,200 a year. Their plan did not succeed. The numbers fell only to about 1,800 this year. You can decrease the service area all you want, but most of the traumas occur around the hospital, and many trauma patients are dropped off by friends and family, not by ambulance.