The Chester County Trauma Services Task Force has launched a campaign to educate county residents about the lack of a trauma center in Chester County. The campaign is part of an initiative to investigate the feasibility, including cost and funding scenarios of establishing a trauma center at either Brandywine Hospital or The Chester County Hospital.From now through October, the public awareness campaign, themed "It's About Time," will reach out to county residents via an educational Web site (www.cctrauma.org), local media coverage, signage, public service announcements, information pamphlets, and grassroots activities at county meetings and social events. The "It's About Time" theme was selected to highlight the longer amount of time it takes Chester County residents to get to a trauma center as well as the need for a community discussion on this vital public service.
"Most residents have no idea that Chester County does not have a trauma center," said State Rep. Carole Rubley, R-157, of Tredyffrin, who chairs the task force. "The task force wants everyone to understand the potential risks this situation poses for critically injured residents, as well as the potential costs and benefits of establishing a trauma center in the county."
Getting prompt, life saving care to critically injured persons is the main benefit of a trauma center. Other potential benefits to county residents include:
o improved patient recovery and reduced rehabilitation times
o improved long-term patient outcomes
o fewer costly helicopter evacuations
o stimulating the county's economy with high-paying jobs and health-care resources that are attractive to incoming businesses.
Trauma centers are specially accredited hospitals with expert medical staffs and resources on standby to treat critically injured patients 24/7. These centers are designed to provide a higher level of care than is available in hospital emergency rooms. Chester County is the most populated county in Pennsylvania and the only county in Southeastern Pennsylvania that does not have a trauma center.
In Chester County, the average travel time from event to trauma center admission is 70 to 75 minutes, well beyond the 60-minute "Golden Hour" window that significantly improves odds of survival.
Despite the skill and dedication of the county's EMS personnel, only 37 percent of trauma patients in Chester County get to a trauma center within the Golden Hour, according to a study by Health Strategies & Solutions, Inc. Given traffic congestion and distances to travel, it is not possible to get many patients to a trauma center within that timeframe.
All "It's About Time" campaign materials and events will be recognizable by a logo that represents the Golden Hour - a gold stopwatch with a red EKG line passing through it. The task force retained Schubert Communications Inc., a marketing and public relations agency that has been based in Chester County for 30 years, to develop and execute the public awareness campaign.
The campaign will kick off with the Web site launch on July 3 and canvassing at local events during the July 4 weekend including the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium inWest Chester, Good Neighbor Day in Downingtown, and Freedom Fest in Nottingham.
U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-6, of Exton formed the Chester County Trauma Service Task Force after commissioning and reviewing the results of a study that concluded that Chester County residents would immediately benefit from a Level II trauma center. "The medical community has been debating what to do about access to trauma services ever since the closure of the Brandywine trauma center," said Gerlach. "I convened the Task Force as a way to bring the stakeholders together and create a process to resolve this issue in the public's interest."
About the Chester County Trauma Services Task Force
The Chester County Trauma Services Task Force is a non-profit, non-partisan committee of volunteers convened by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach and devoted to researching the feasibility of establishing a trauma center in Chester County. The 27-person task force, chaired by State Rep.. Carole Rubley, includes elected officials, business, civic, healthcare and other representatives from a variety of Chester County organizations. The task force meets monthly.