Following auto accidents, a new study highlights the increased mortality rates associated with longer emergency medical response times, highlighting the important of additional teams in rural and remote locations.
In findings published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Canadian researchers identified a direct link between longer emergency response times in rural counties and increased rates of death among those involved serious motor vehicle crashes.
Researchers reviewed auto accident data from the National Emergency Medical Service Information System, across 2,268 U.S. counties from October 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018. The counties represented approximately 239,464,121 people, and suggested that longer emergency medical service (EMS) response times were associated with higher rates of car accident mortality, after adjusting for measures of transportation times.
The median response times following auto accidents in county and rural areas was nine minutes. Areas with response times reaching up to 12 minutes were significantly associated with higher rates of mortality.
Measures of rurality, on-scene and transport times, access to trauma resources, and traffic safety laws all appeared to be key factors in the increased risk of death. Those who lived further away from both emergency response resources and trauma centers for immediate care, were more likely to die from auto accident injuries, the researchers found.
The findings of the study remain consistent with the need for increased trauma system-level efforts that identify disparities among rural and urban settings, researchers noted.
“These findings suggest that trauma system–level efforts to address regional disparities in MVC mortality should evaluate EMS response times as a potential contributor,” the researchers concluded.
According to automobile fatality research published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from motor vehicle crashes for drivers or passengers are three to ten times higher in rural American than in urban regions. CDC officials report drivers and passengers in rural regions were found to use seat belts at a significantly lower rate, leading to more severe injuries.