This case takes place in Illinois and involves a previously healthy female patient who was involved in a severe car accident. The patient was transported to the ER where she received blood products, however the facility ran out of blood while transfusing the patient. The facility also failed to provide a physician with adequate qualifications to treat the victim, who’s injuries would likely have been survivable with proper treatment. There was also a delay in getting a helicopter to transport the patient to a properly equipped trauma hospital, with the patient dying well before the helicopter arrived.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1.) Do you treat motor vehicle accident patients?
- 2.) If so, how often?
- 3.) Is it reasonable to assume that the delays/lack of facilities increased the risk death?
Expert Witness Response E-007288
I treat motor vehicle accidents almost every day that I attend the trauma and emergency surgery service at my hospital. If the patient died from hemorrhage then yes, delay and lack of facilities contributed directly to the patient’s risk of death. If the treating facility lacks sufficient resources and/or personnel to render effective care, then it is imperative that the patient is relocated as soon as possible.
Expert Witness Response E-006988
I evaluate and care for patients injured in automotive accidents nearly every day in my practice. The core teaching of the American College of Surgeons Advanced Trauma Life Support Course (a course mandated as part of the training and / or maintenance of certification for nearly every surgeon and EM physician physician in the country) is the mandate that one must recognize early when one has received a patient that exceeds the capabilities of the center and make plans for transfer. This process seems to have fallen apart in this case.