CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- The Orange Park Medical Center has stopped operations at its trauma center.
The hospital has been operating under a provisional license and today the state denied its application to continue trauma operations citing deficiencies in four areas.
"We are very disappointed and surprised that we received notification from the Department of Health denying our provisional status," said the medical center in a statement. "This decision impacts not just the hospital community, but it will negatively impact the lives of all those in the Orange Park area."
The hospital plans to appeal the decision.
Until then, all trauma patients are being taken to UF and Shands Hospital in Jacksonville.
Medical Center issues statement
Anthony Udekwu, M.D., F.A.C.S, Trauma/Critical Care Surgeon of Orange Park Medical Center released the following statement in reaction to today’s announcement from the Department of Health regarding the provisional status of Orange Park Medical Center’s trauma center:
We are very disappointed and surprised that we received notification from the Department of Health denying our provisional status. As customary in the evaluation process, we have been working with the Department to ensure residents of Clay County have local access to trauma care. We intend to appeal this decision and will suspend trauma care operations until the appeal.
While we disagree with this decision, our commitment remains with the community and the patients we serve. Since we received our provisional status over a year ago, we have cared for more than 1,000 trauma patients, saving countless lives that may not have had the same outcome if we were without this level of care. In fact, our trauma center¹s survival rate is over 95%, which is better than the state of Florida¹s average.
Our trauma center has been focused on providing life-saving trauma care to patients in a part of the state where there is the most need. Research shows that someone with the most severe, life-threatening injuries has the best chance for survival if he or she receives trauma care within the first 60 minutes of injury. And when this care is received at a specially equipped trauma center, those chances increase by 25%. Before this trauma center opened its doors, Clay County did not have a local trauma center and our trauma patients had to be transported at least a 30 minute drive to downtown Jacksonville for trauma care. When minutes are the difference between life and death, forcing patients to endure lengthy travel costs lives.
The heavy traffic and population growth we have seen in Northeast Florida has resulted in increased transport times for critical trauma patients to get to the nearest trauma center in downtown Jacksonville. When Shands Jacksonville is not an option because it is too busy, the next closest trauma centers to Orange Park Medical Center are an 80 minute drive to Gainesville or a 120 minute drive to Daytona Beach. Both of these options are well outside of the maximum 60-minute window to give patients lifesaving treatment and the best chance to survive.
As we all know, this decision impacts not just our hospital community, but it will negatively impact the lives of all those in the Orange Park area. We will continue to work with the Florida Department to provide high quality care to our patients.