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September 1987

A National Alcohol and Trauma Center SurveyMissed Opportunities, Failures of Responsibility

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery/Traumatology of the Shock Trauma Center of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Baltimore.

Arch Surg. 1987;122(9):1067-1071. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400210105016

• The results of a national survey of trauma centers concerning their assessment and response to the problem of alcohol and trauma are reported. Surveys were returned from 154 trauma centers located in 43 states and the District of Columbia. The profile of the 125000 patients treated at the centers is a 30-year-old man sustaining blunt trauma, usually in a vehicular crash. Two-thirds of centers estimated that the majority of their patients had abused alcohol. While acknowledging alcohol as a significant cause of trauma, only 55.2% of centers routinely obtain admitting blood alcohol levels. Less than a third of the centers employ alcoholism counselors. Most trauma centers are not providing services that allow them to fulfill their responsibility to detect and initiate treatment of alcohol abuse, a major cause of traumatic injury.

(Arch Surg 1987;122:1067-1071)