With the General Assembly set to convene Monday at the state Capitol, the discussion of the state’s trauma system — and its lack thereof — is heating up, much to state Rep. Buddy Carter’s delight.
“Absolutely,” said the third-term Pooler Republican. “I’m absolutely glad to see it getting the attention it deserves. But we should have been talking about it before now.”
Trauma care is important to me because of what happened on Feb. 7.”
Carter pointed to the disaster of the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion last Feb. 7 and the number of casualties that were brought to the trauma center at Savannah’s Memorial Health University Center.
“I lost a lot of friends in the worst industrial accident in the state’s history,” Carter said.
He said that if it wasn’t for Memorial’s trauma center, the death toll would have been higher.
“We’re thankful we had a system in place,” Carter said.
Last year, Gov. Sonny Perdue pushed through $58.9 million in funding for Georgia’s trauma centers. But lawmakers did not settle on a dedicated revenue stream for trauma care.
Gov. Perdue previously has pushed a “super speeder” fine, with the proceeds going to trauma care.
There are only 15 trauma centers in the state and only four are classified as level 1. Only one — Memorial Health University Center — is south of Macon. And along I-75 south of Macon, there isn’t a single level 1 trauma care center. Thomasville’s Archbold Memorial Hospital has a level 2 center.
More than 700 Georgians die each year because of a lack of adequate trauma care centers in the state, according to Carter.
The Medical Association of Georgia, which represents the state’s physicians, also has put trauma care funding as its No. 1 legislative priority for the upcoming session.
“In Georgia, you have a 20 percent greater chance you will die because we don’t have a trauma care system,” Carter said. “That’s irresponsible on the part of the government.”
Trauma care network advocates have scheduled Trauma Capitol Day for Feb. 23. For more information, visit the Web site www.georgiaitsabouttime.com.