Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Trauma Volume and Transport Time at a Level I Trauma Center
Francesca Izzo1, Frederique Pinto1, Kristina Grochowski1, Kristina Kramer1, Yamuna Carey1, Edward Kelly1, Reginald Alouidor1, Tovy Kamine1,2
1Department of Surgery, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA; 2Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science, University of Massachusetts-Chan Baystate, Springfield, MA
Background: Baystate Medical Center is the only Level I Trauma Center in Western, MA. The COVID-19 pandemic has had varying effects on Trauma Centers in regards to volume. Initial studies showed an increase in volume during the lockdown phase, but there has been no evidence of trends after lockdown.
Methods: Retrospective, review of trauma registry data pre-COVID (1/2016-2/2020) and during COVID-19 pandemic (3/2020-12/2021). Comparisons between time periods performed using T-Test.
Results: Mean total traumas per month were significantly increased during the pandemic (191.3 v. 110.3 patients per month, p <0.001). Both blunt (174.2 v. 100.4, p <0.001) and penetrating (17.1 v 9.9, p <0.001) traumas increased during the COVID pandemic. There was a significant increase in both scene calls (105.0 v 73.8, p<0.001) and interfacility transfers (IFT) (42.7 v 36.0 P = 0.004) during the pandemic. There was no change in injury severity score (11.0 v 11.2, p = 0.498) during the pandemic. Ground interfacility transport times (34.13 min v 28.60 min, p = 0.036) increased significantly during COVID. Other transport times were not changed.
Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Baystate Medical Center saw a statistically significant increase in trauma volume across multiple dimensions that continued even after the end of the lockdown period. In addition, IFT ground transport times increased suggesting that patients were being transported from facilities farther away likely due to the strain on the regional health system from the pandemic.
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