Gunshot and stabbing victims and those patients critically hurt in accidents could be forced to travel outside of San Joaquin County for emergency care.
San Joaquin General Hospital is the only trauma center in the county and serves almost 200 patients a month, but it may lose its trauma designation.
San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services Agency Administrator Dan Burch says San Joaquin General has some major shortfalls from staffing to operating room availability.
"What a trauma center provides that other hospitals don’t is dedicated attending surgeons, operating suites, and surgical resources to immediately respond to trauma patients as they come into the hospital," says Burch. "In general, operates under the premise that you’ll have a trauma surgeon available to the patient within 15 minutes of being called."
Burch says he believes the goals are all achievable and they're willing to work with the hospital to implement the process. The agency has given the hospital until October 10th to come into compliance.
"Obviously if they’ve made sustainable progress toward achieving those goals, we’ll continue to work with the hospital,” says Burch.
According to Burch, the absence of a trauma center would require sending patients to Kaiser in South Sacramento or Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto.