Objectives: Since 1992, the Consultative Committee on Road Traffic Fatalities in Victoria, Australia, has identified problems including those contributing to death and the potential preventability of deaths in road fatalities who survived until at least the arrival of ambulance services. The present analysis examines the outcomes at a Level I trauma center compared with other hospital groups in Victoria.
Methods: Between 1992 and 1994, 257 consecutive eligible fatalities were evaluated. Problems in management and preventable deaths were identified at the trauma center (TC) and in pooled data from other hospital groups, i.e., specialist teaching (Level II), other metropolitan (Level III), large regional (Level III), and small regional hospitals.
Results: Mean problems identified and those contributing to death (controlled for the number of areas of care), were less frequent at TC (1.7 and 0.6) than at other hospital groups (specialist teaching, 1.9 and 1.1*; metropolitan, 3.1* and 1.6*; large regional, 3.8* and 1.8*; small regional, 5.1* and 2.6*) (*p < 0.05 compared with TC). Preventable and potentially preventable deaths were also less common at TC (20%) than at the other hospital groups (specialist teaching, 40%*; metropolitan, 41%*; large regional, 53%*; small regional, 62%*) (*p < 0.05 compared with TC). When a Trauma and Injury Severity Score of 75% or more was used to define preventable death, a similar trend was identified.
Conclusion: Management of patients with major trauma at a Level I trauma center was associated with fewer problems contributing to death and fewer preventable and potentially preventable deaths than at the different hospital groups. A trauma system in Victoria, including bypass of major trauma patients to designated hospitals with 24-hour trauma services, is likely to decrease the frequency of problems, including the preventable death rates.