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August 8, 2012

Helicopter vs Ground Transportation for Patients With Trauma

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliation: Careflight Medical Services, Robina, Queensland, Australia (jysting@uq.edu.au).

JAMA. 2012;308(6):563-565. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7772

To the Editor: The study based on data from the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) registry1 demonstrated improved survival to discharge in severely injured adult trauma patients transported by helicopter compared with ground EMS. Time to definitive trauma care (particularly hemostasis requiring surgery) is known to strongly influence outcomes.2 The authors were not able to adjust for components of EMS from dispatch to patient arrival at a major trauma service because a large proportion of time data was missing. I was surprised that automated time capture and imprint capability was not available in a highly developed trauma system. In Queensland, Australia, both road ambulance and medical helicopters have mandatory time entries or automatically generated imprints into real-time patient records that accompany the transport vehicle.