INTRODUCTION: Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), the largest military hospital and the only level 1 trauma center in the DoD, cares for active duty, retired uniformed services personnel, and beneficiaries. In addition, BAMC works in collaboration with the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) and University Hospital (UH), San Antonio's other level 1 trauma center, to provide trauma care to residents of the city and 22 counties in southwest Texas from San Antonio to Mexico (26,000 square mile area). Civilian-military partnerships are shown to benefit the training of military medical personnel; however, to date, there are no published reports specific to military personnel experiences within emergency care. The purpose of the current study was to describe and compare the emergency department trauma patient populations of two level 1 trauma centers in one metropolitan city (BAMC and UH) as well as determine if DoD level 1 trauma cases were representative of patients treated in OEF/OIF emergency department settings. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We obtained a nonhuman subjects research determination for de-identified data from the US Air Force 59th Medical Wing and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Institutional Review Boards. Data on emergency department patients treated between the years 2015 and 2017 were obtained from the two level 1 trauma centers (BAMC and UH, located in San Antonio, Texas); data included injury descriptors, ICU and hospital days, and department procedures. RESULTS: Two-proportion Z-tests indicated that trauma patients were similar across trauma centers on injury type, injury severity, and discharge status; yet trauma patients differed significantly in terms of mechanism of injury and regions of injury. BAMC received significantly greater proportions of patients injured from falls, firearms and with facial and head injuries than UH, which received significantly greater proportion of patients with thorax and abdominal injuries. In addition, a significantly greater proportion of patients spent more than 2 days in the ICU and greater than two total hospital days at BAMC than in UH. In comparison to military emergency departments in combat zones, BAMC had significantly lower rates of blood product administration and endotracheal intubations. CONCLUSIONS: The trauma patients treated at a military level 1 trauma center were similar to those treated in the civilian level 1 trauma center in the same city, indicating the effectiveness of the only DoD Level 1 trauma center to provide experience comparable to that provided in civilian trauma centers. However, further research is needed to determine if the exposure rates to specific procedures are adequate to meet predeployment readiness requirements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health