Determining the Accessibility to Level 1 Trauma Centers in the Eastern United States by Helicopter

Authors: Benjamin Suriani*, State University of New York at Geneseo
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Transportation Geography
Keywords: Trauma, Emergency Response, GIS, Disaster Mitigation
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


When a serious medical incident occurs, time is of the essence. For life threatening or traumatic situations, having top medical care can mean the difference between life and death. Although any hospital is better than none, Level 1 trauma centers act as pinnacle facilities for immediately dealing with severe traumatic injury. Proximity to these hospitals is important in that it can dictate means of transportation to the facility as well as survival probability. Distance away from a trauma center is one reason the severely injured are transported by helicopter. This study looks at the geographic distribution of Level 1 Trauma Centers and identifies specific regions of substantial population that are significantly far away from these facilities. Points were first placed on all Level 1 trauma centers according to their geographic coordinates courtesy of the American Trauma Society. Once the points were plotted, the Euclidean Distance tool was utilized in ArcGIS to determine what regions were closest to a certain hospital. Flight time by helicopter was used as the determinant for classifying regions as underserved and final maps are color coded based on flight time to the nearest trauma center. Results show clear trends between population and access to amenities however, a few larger municipalities were identified as underserved meaning the nearest level 1 trauma center is greater than 30 minutes away by helicopter. Being displayed in a visual form, this data highlights areas of much needed accessibility. The results can prove helpful to emergency managers, disaster mitigation organizations and municipalities.

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