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March 26, 2003

Trauma Centers and Trauma Systems

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland.

JAMA. 2003;289(12):1566-1567. doi:10.1001/jama.289.12.1566

The year 2006 will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the first civilian trauma centers in the United States, at San Francisco General Hospital and at Cook County Hospital in Chicago.1 The same year also marks the 30th anniversary of the American College of Surgeons' publication of the "Optimal Hospital Resources for Care of the Seriously Injured" document.2 The parent document and subsequent revisions articulate expert opinion on what constitutes categorization of trauma centers, the resources required, and how trauma centers fit into a system of care for the injured patient. The article by MacKenzie and colleagues3 in this issue of THE JOURNAL provides a national inventory of hospital trauma centers. The study encompasses the last decade and updates the report published in 1995.4 The findings are noteworthy and have potentially important implications for health care policy.

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