SOUTH BEND – Indiana is under-served when it comes to trauma care.
There are only 8 trauma centers in the state leaving many rural communities unprotected.
Memorial Hospital in South Bend has one of the designated trauma centers, meaning it has trauma surgeons and specialists on call 24-7.
The Indiana Department of Health is working on a statewide trauma system.
A new triage and transport rule went into effect last year. That means the most seriously injured must be taken to a trauma center if it's no more than 45 minutes away or puts the patient's life in jeopardy.
“That provides that day-to-day guidance of EMS providers to take the right patient to the right hospital at the right time so that trauma care is timely,” said Memorial trauma clinical nurse Jan Howard.
The goal is to increase the number of trauma centers so no matter where you live in Indiana, you are within 45 minutes of trauma care. Right now, that is not the case for about half the state.
And that's proved deadly, because right now in Indiana, traumatic injuries are the number one killer of people under the age of 45.