BRADENTON - Blake Hospital is tucked off 59th Street West, closer to beaches than the interstate. But hospital officials say it's the perfect spot to fill a critical care void.
"It's a big geographic gap in the state trauma system," said Blake CEO Dan Fredrich.
He notes a 2005 state study showing a lack of trauma services in certain areas, including Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
"It will save lives," Fredrich said of the trauma center. "It will make a difference in people's lives in our community. It's a service that the more you looked at it, how can you not do it."
It costs millions to turn an everyday emergency room into a Level II trauma center capable of handling head injuries and critical gunshot wounds. Blake must pay for a list of specialists to be on call.
"You will have an in-house trauma surgeon, CT scanners running rapidly," said Brian Kimbrall, the hospital's trauma medical director.
"In order to be a trauma center, you need to have blood available and available quickly. There are actually time limits to how soon you'll have to be able to respond to see the patient at trauma centers versus nontrauma centers," Kimbrall said.
"It was very strange when I noticed that there were three counties that didn't have a trauma center anywhere within them," he said.
Now, a Bayflite chopper team at Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg, handles local trauma calls. Blake officials said that the trauma center isn't replacing Bayfront's services, just expanding a network of trauma response.. They said it offers paramedics another option to save a life.
Blake plans to have the trauma center ready by October 2011.