The week of May 18-24 is National EMS Week, and I would like to take this opportunity to commend the hundreds of emergency professionals in and around the CSRA. Countless lives are saved each year because of the high level of training and dedication exhibited by EMS professionals.
I also would like to take this opportunity to urge our lawmakers to support a funded and organized statewide trauma network that includes the EMS system. Our EMS professionals are in dire need of additional resources that will address, among other things, compensation and equipment improvements that are vital to maintaining their high level of service. Trauma is the No. 1 killer of Americans between ages 1 and 44, and the No. 3 cause of death across all age groups. In Georgia, the trauma death rate is significantly higher than the national average. If Georgia simply achieved the national average, 712 lives would be saved each year.
Saving the lives of those who have suffered trauma is a big part of what EMS professionals do. They could become much more effective in their jobs if the state were to establish an adequately funded statewide trauma system. This system will save lives, and it will help ensure that all of us can get life-saving trauma care when and where we need it.
Here's to the life-saving EMS professionals.
Phillip L. Coule, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., Augusta
(The writer is director of the Center of Operational Medicine, and an associate professor of emergency medicine, at the Medical College of Georgia; the medical director for MCG LifeNet and Emergency Communication Center; and an emergency physician for MCG Health Medical Center.)