Los Angeles Times Profiles King/Drew Patient, Examines Potential Impact of Trauma Center Closure
The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday profiled the case of Leroy Eppright, a 19-year-old Los Angeles resident treated for a gunshot wound at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. According to the Times, the case "illustrates a key part of the equation" in the debate over whether the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should decide to close the King/Drew trauma center (Levoy, Los Angeles Times, 11/9).
Regulators have repeatedly cited King/Drew for patient care problems, and in September, the board proposed to close the trauma center and hire outside managers to operate the hospital. The King/Drew trauma center, which provides care for patients with life-threatening injuries from incidents such as shootings and car accidents, treats 2,150 patients annually, and the hospital ED treats 45,000 patients annually (California Healthline, 9/14).
Experts maintain that the location of a high-level trauma center in relation to where such incidents are likely to occur represents one the most significant factors in whether patients survive. According to the Times, "In L.A., shooting victims are concentrated around King/Drew," and Eppright likely survived his gunshot wound because the incident occurred near the hospital. Paramedics transported Eppright to the King/Drew trauma center within 39 minutes of the shooting.
Among the 13 area trauma centers, King/Drew, which treats the highest percentage of gunshot wounds, is located "closest to the largest numbers of shootings," the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 11/9).