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San Diego County Celebrates 25 Years of Trauma System UC San Diego's Trauma Center shares in kudos


October 01, 2009  |  

More than 150,000 patients have personally experienced San Diego County’s Trauma System since its inception in August 1984.  Today, the San Diego Trauma System is a national model for effective trauma care delivery, saving an untold number of lives in its 25-year history.

Trauma Team

San Diego County Board of Supervisor, trauma teams and patients celebrate "Trauma Recognition Day

In celebration of that achievement, San Diego County recently declared September 15, 2009 as “Trauma Recognition Day.”

Representatives from the Trauma Research and Education Foundation (TREF) along with the San Diego Trauma System’s hospitals, EMS crews and Mercy Air, attended a special ceremony at the County Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

As Chief of the San Diego County Trauma Medical Audit Committee, Raul Coimbra, MD, UC San Diego Medical Center’s chief of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns, thanked the supervisors for their continued support.

TREF Baord members

TREF Baord members receive token of appreciation

“You took bold action to create the foundation for this successful partnership that has saved and improved the lives of San Diegans for the past 25 years,” said Coimbra.  “On behalf of the San Diego Trauma System’s six hospitals, our partners in EMS, Mercy Air and first-responders, we appreciate the leadership and support of the County of San Diego and look forward to the next 25 years of working together to serve our community.”

In 1984, the trauma system, approved by the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, was established.  Trauma centers are specially equipped with surgical and medical specialists, technology and equipment needed to provide treatment for the most critically injured patients. More than 9,000 patients annually are treated at one of the six facilities (five adult, one pediatric) designated as trauma centers in San Diego County:

  • Palomar Medical Center
  • Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
  • Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego
  • Sharp Memorial Hospital
  • UC San Diego Medical Center
  • Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego
  • Mercy Air, which provides air transportation when trauma patients need to reach a center by helicopter

“This is a public-private partnership that works,” explained Coimbra. “The ability we have developed, over time, to work together is amazing. These six hospitals, fierce competitors in the health care environment, have proved to the world that when the mission is clear and the vision is right, they can work together to the benefit of the patient. This is the most remarkable accomplishment of our system and one that I hope we will keep going in future years.”

Supervisor Ron Roberts thanked the trauma system representatives and introduced his fellow board members to “The Truth about Trauma,” a video project produced by all the trauma and communication teams and STAT Media Productions.

“Since the system’s inception, the preventable death rate for major traumatic injury in San Diego County has fallen from 22 percent to less than two percent,” said Roberts. “I think most of us have done something that at the time seemed to be a good idea but ended up to be a very poor decision. It is these folks here today who are responsible for making sure we lived to tell about it.”

The 30-minute special, “The Truth about Trauma,” debuted on September 10, 2009, at a special reception for trauma team members, friends, patients and supporters.

Media Contact: Kimberly Edwards, 619-543-6163,

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