The Hill: Trauma patients need federal policies that support effective emergency response

By Dr. Dar Kavouspour

Everyday, emergency rooms and trauma center physicians and nurses across America work tirelessly to save the lives of patients who come to them in grave conditions. Whether they’re suffering from a severe injury in a car accident, experiencing a heart attack or stroke, a third degree burn, or some other terrible circumstance, these patients’ lives end up in the hands of the trauma physicians like me who receive them upon entering an emergency facility.

But often before then, these patients’ lives are in the hands of the ground and air responders who arrive on scene and who transport them to the ER or trauma center. I see first-hand on a daily basis how much this element of patient care matters: the seconds and minutes leading up to their arrival at an emergency facility can have life-or-death implications. In other words, the speed in which a patient is transported to us can literally determine their life or death.

I urge Washington policymakers to take this reality into serious consideration as they craft any legislation that would impact the ability of emergency response services, including emergency air medical transport by helicopter, to carry out their critical missions.

A severe injury or trauma can happen to anyone, at any time. While it’s my job as an emergency physician to administer the best possible health care treatment to my patients, it's Congress’ responsibility to enact policies that allow patients to have access to effective emergency health care response, including air medical transport.