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Study Targets Calif. Trauma Center

VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- A study approved by the San Bernardino (Calif.) Board of Supervisors on Tuesday could bring a much-needed trauma center to the Victor Valley.

The Victor Valley is the fastest-growing area in the county, gaining 102,000 new residents since 2000, yet trauma victims have no choice but to be airlifted more than 40 miles for treatment.

At the request of 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, the Board of Supervisors approved a study on the county trauma system and the feasibility of adding another trauma center.

The study will provide professional research that will back up Mitzelfelt s opinion that the High Desert is in need of a trauma center, said David Zook, spokesman for Mitzelfelt.

The board authorized the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency to seek qualified consultants to perform the countywide study.

The study will include evaluation of physician availability, financial viability, volume and projected volume.

St. Mary Medical Center has shown interest in opening a trauma center for at least a year, said Mitzelfelt.

We would all like to have a trauma center on every corner, said 3rd District Supervisor Dennis Hansberger. The problem is that wherever they are, they don t make any money.

Mitzelfelt s concerns stem from the fact that the closest trauma center to the Victor Valley is more than 40 miles away.

What we have now is a constant air war, said Mitzelfelt, who added that High Desert patients are constantly being airlifted to trauma centers at either Loma Linda Medical Center or Arrowhead Medical Center.

At what point are we relying too heavily on air transports?

Mitzelfelt said he believes that if not now, then in the very near future the Victor Valley will be able to support a level two trauma center.

There is no question among High Desert residents that a trauma center is needed, Mitzelfelt concluded.

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