University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Driving Time to Trauma Centers for Children Living in Wisconsin

Keon Young Park, MD, PhD; Benjamin L. Eithun, CRNP; Jeffrey Havlena, MS; Jessica Draper, APNP; Randi S. Cartmill, MS; Michael K. Kim, MD; Jonathan E. Kohler, MD, MA

WMJ. 2021;120(3):174-177.

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Introduction: Trauma is the number 1 cause of death among children. Shorter distance to definitive trauma care has been correlated with better clinical outcomes. There are only a small number of pediatric trauma centers (PTC) designated by the American College of Surgeons, and the resources available to treat injured children at non-PTCs are limited. To guide resource allocation and advocacy efforts for pediatric trauma care in Wisconsin, we determined the precise distance to trauma centers for all children living in the state.

Methods: The 2010 US Census data was used to determine ZIP-centroid geolocation. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services trauma classification database was used to identify trauma facilities in Wisconsin. SAS routines invoking the Google Maps application programming interface were used to calculate the driving distance to each of the trauma facilities. We quantified the percentage of children living within 30- and 60-minute driving distances of level I-IV trauma centers.

Results: Just 31.3% of Wisconsin children live within a 30-minute drive of a level I PTC; 32.7% live within 30 minutes of a level II center; 81.3% within 30 minutes of a level III center; and 74.6% within 30 minutes of a level IV center.

Conclusions: Two-thirds of children in Wisconsin live beyond a 30-minute driving distance of a level I PTC, but most children live within 30 minutes of level III and IV trauma centers. As the closest hospitals for most children, smaller trauma centers should be adequately resourced to provide pediatric trauma care.

Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California (Park); Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), Madison, Wisconsin (Draper, Kohler, Havlena, Cartmill); UW Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin (Draper, Kohler, Havlena, Cartmill, Kim); American Family Children’s Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin (Eithun); Berbee Walsh Department of Emergency Medicine, UW SMPH, Madison, Wisconsin (Kim).
Corresponding Author: Jonathan E. Kohler, MD, MA; email; ORCID ID 0000-0001-7509-4097.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Funding/Support: None declared.
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