Ridley-Thomas Advocates for Level I Trauma Center in South LA

Doctors and nurses pushing patient on gurney through emergency room

Given the high incidence of trauma-related deaths in the South Los Angeles area, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has asked county officials to determine how to bring a Level I trauma care center to South Los Angeles.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion, which was adopted by the Board of Supervisors June 30, asks for a comprehensive report to be completed by the fall which will include a timeline detailing the necessary steps.

Level 1 trauma centers have more resources available to provide total care for every aspect of trauma injury, from prevention through rehabilitation.  They are also research and teaching facilities.

“Ensuring quality trauma care is a priority for me,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “We need more information and analysis to get a complete picture of the county’s trauma care needs. In particular, the trauma care system must provide intensive services, including trauma prevention strategies in those ‘hot spot’ areas with persistently high trauma mortality rates.”

The latest data shows that Los Angeles County as a whole has one of the best trauma care systems in the world, with the overall mortality rate at 3.6 percent well below the national average of 4.2 percent. However, South Los Angeles accounts for 20 percent of the trauma-related deaths, while it is only 10 percent of Los Angeles County’s population.

The new MLK Community Hospital, which is scheduled to open this summer, will have an Emergency Department with 21 beds, staffed 24-hours a day, seven-days a week to treat serious, life-threatening conditions that are not caused by traumatic injuries. 

“I look forward to the report in the fall so we can move as quickly as possible on this effort,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

Dr. Mitchell Katz, Director of the Department of Health Services, supported the motion stating that: “We are committed to placing the most extensive resources in the areas that they are most needed.  South LA had a level one trauma unit in the past because of the high rate of trauma in that section of the county, and we want to restore that capability.”