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Those of us who work in emergency medicine and transport see tragedies every day that don't have to happen. During my 26-year career, I have witnessed far too many lives lost because we ran out of time and weren't close enough to a trauma center that offered critical and life-saving medical care.
Some counties in Georgia do not even have an ambulance service EMS to respond to emergency calls; they have to rely on a neighboring county to send their ambulance which many times is in excess of 30 minutes.
Georgia's trauma care system is in critical condition. Most Georgians don't realize that our trauma care is fragile, fragmented and dangerously underfunded. In Georgia, our death rate from trauma is 20 percent above the national average, which equates to over 700 more lives lost each year in our state. That is 700 plus lives each year that can be saved if we just met the national average.
We must change this on Nov. 2 by passing ballot amendment No. 2. For an annual car registration fee of just $10, a dedicated funding source will be established to fund trauma care. The money can't be used for any other purposes, and as most people know, in many cases dollars are shuffled from one budget to another from what they were initially intended. This $10 dedicated funding source can only be used for trauma care for the people of Georgia and absolutely nothing else.
The dedicated funding will help existing hospitals step up and obtain trauma designations, help and provide funding to areas not served by emergency medical services and provide EMS equipment and training to first responder agencies in rural and urban areas of the state. The outcome of a favorable vote on Nov. 2 simply will be hundreds of lives saved each year in the state of Georgia.
I'm always concerned when we get a call about a serious car crash or other trauma-related emergency. I immediately think about time. Will we be able to get to the accident victim quickly enough? Can we transport the patient to a life-saving trauma care center within the crucial 60-minute window, which we call "The Golden Hour?"
The fact is that Georgia just doesn't have enough trauma centers along with areas of emergency medical services to respond in a timely manner. We lose too many patients because we are unable to match the right patient to the right facility to care for their injuries in the right amount of time.
I support the Yes 2 Save Lives Campaign, which is urging Georgia voters to vote Yes on amendment No. 2 on Nov. 2. In a split second, we could all be seriously injured in a car crash.
Even worse is the thought of a loved one being hurt. I want the best quality trauma care available for my loved ones and friends and for myself and I truly believe that Georgians want this for their loved ones, friends and self!
That's why I'm voting yes on amendment 2, and I hope you do, too.