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Emergency Medical Services

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Emergency Medical Services

Trauma System

For more information phone 619-285-6429 or send us an email.

Facilities where these Services are offered:


25 Years of Trauma Care 

San Diego County Trauma System recently celebrated its 25 year anniversary.  To view "The Truth About Trauma" video about the trauma system, go to Stat Media Productions.  The first 8 minutes of the 30 minute video provide a wonderful introduction.


In 1982, the Hospital Council of San Diego and Imperial Counties undertook an assessment to determine whether San Diego County would benefit from a regionalized trauma system. The study represented the first comprehensive concurrent and retrospective audit of trauma care in the nation ("Trauma Care Needs Assessment Study" by Amherst and Associates). The findings and recommendations of this report, released in November 1982, led to the development of a joint Hospital Council and Medical Society plan for care of trauma patients in San Diego County.

In October 1983, the Department of Health Services created an ad hoc Trauma Advisory Task Force to assist in the review and evaluation of the Hospital Council - Medical Society Trauma Plan. The advisory group conducted public hearings and informal sessions with hospital and pre-hospital care providers. The task force synthesized the knowledge gained from these providers with the experiences of other trauma systems and their own knowledge and experience into a set of recommendations presented to the Department and the County Board of Supervisors. The recommendations included adopting a trauma standard which closely followed the American College of Surgeons guidelines for optimal care of injured patients.

In August 1984, a regionalized system of trauma care developed by dedicated physicians, nurses, prehospital providers, citizens and system specialists emerged within San Diego County. The system design, undertaken by the Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), provided the basic framework for the current system.

Currently, there are five adult trauma centers serving San Diego County: Palomar Medical Center, Scripps Memorial Hospital - La Jolla, Scripps Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, Sharp Memorial Hospital, and UCSD Medical Center. Children's Hospital and Health Center serves as the pediatric trauma center. Since August 1984, more than 100,000 trauma patients have been admitted to San Diego County's designated trauma centers.

Traumatic injury, considered a preventable disease, represents a serious public health challenge for San Diego County. During Fiscal Year (FY) 00/01, nine thousand three hundred fifty-one (9,351) patients were admitted to designated trauma centers (an average of 779 patient admissions per month).

Traumatic injuries are classified as either penetrating or blunt. The number of patients admitted to county trauma facilities with penetrating injuries (mostly due to firearms and cutting/piercing injuries) increased steadily from FY 85/86 to 92/93, then decreased to a fifteen-year low in FY 99/00. Currently, 7% of all trauma patients suffer from penetrating injuries. The number of blunt injuries, primarily resulting from motor vehicle-related injuries and falls, has continued to increase by an average of about 6% per year, and, currently, 93% of all trauma patients' injuries are blunt.




For more information phone 619-285-6429 or send us an email.