Opposition to Suncoast trauma center dropped

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- It is finally over; Blake Medical Center gets to keep the doors of their trauma center open, following a long dispute over who will care for severely injured patients on the Suncoast.

Blake opened its trauma center in 2011, and has been receiving patients for the past 3 years. But during that time, a group of Tampa-area hospitals had claimed that Blake's trauma unit would threaten their economic health.

But now that legal challenge has been dropped, and Sarasota and Manatee counties now officially can keep the trauma center they call their own.

Seconds can mean the difference between life and death if you are severely injured. The longer it takes to get definitive care and stop bleeding, the higher your risk of death, says trauma surgeon Dr. Brian Kimbrell, medical director of the trauma program. “In trauma, the name of the game is time.”

Specialized and experienced multidisciplinary treatment and specialized resources only offered at trauma centers help patients needing help fast including those with low blood pressure, high heart rate and injuries. “Penetrating injuries, gunshot wounds, stab wounds to the chest, abdomen, car accidents, fractures, open fractures, et cetera.”

Trauma patients in Sarasota and Manatee counties won’t have to travel as far north to Tampa or south to Ft. Myers for care.

Patients aren't the only ones affected. “For our staff, it kind of lifts a cloud. They've been doing a great job taking care of patients, but it was always this little thing out there with these lawsuits that were in the back of everybody’s mind,” says Dan Friedrick, CEO of Blake Medical Center.

The lawsuits challenging the criteria for which Blake was granted their trauma status, were not against Blake Medical Center, rather the Department of Health and the state of Florida.

The criteria now in place now includes Blake’s trauma center and finds there is not only a need for the patients, but enough of a distance between trauma centers.

My name is Scott.