According to the American Trauma Society and the National Trauma Institute, trauma continues to be a leading cause of death for all age groups in the United States, especially for Americans between the ages of 1 and 46 years. More than 192,000 trauma-related deaths occur nationwide every year. Trauma is defined as an acute personal wound or injury requiring timely diagnosis and treatment to diminish or eliminate the risk of death or permanent disability.
The economic burden of accidental death and disability in the United States is estimated to exceed $585 billion annually. Despite the staggering cost, trauma remains “the neglected disease.“ Medical treatment of trauma within the first hour – often referred to as the “Golden Hour“ – can lower the risk of death by 25% and dramatically reduce hospitalization times. Helicopter air ambulance programs are a key resource in delivering trauma victims to trauma centers within that “Golden Hour.“
Frequently, patients accepted by a hospital for routine care develop complications requiring immediate transport to another hospital for specialized treatment. Patient time outside the hospital environment and the level of patient care required during transport are important considerations. Ground ambulance services are not normally staffed to provide the advanced level of patient care required by many critically ill or injured patients. In addition, ground transports can be time-consuming in rural areas, and commitments to county emergency services often limit availability. CALSTAR staffs every flight with two critical care registered nurses, providing the highest level of pre-hospital care to anyone in need, 24 hours a day.