Florida Department of Health eyeing closure of trauma centers

The Florida Department of Health met with representatives and patients of Tampa Bay area trauma centers Friday, for a discussion that could help decide the fate of several trauma centers in the state.

The DOH wants to consolidate Florida's 19 trauma regions.

But that would mean several smaller regional trauma centers would face closure, such as Blake Medical Center in Bradenton and Bayonet Point Medical Center in Hudson.

Dr. Rodger Hodgens with St. Joseph's hospital in Tampa told a packed room it is hard to maintain and staff at that many trauma centers.

"Yes it would be nice for every community to have a trauma center, but there's just not the available resources and talent to provide," he said.

They said the more that open up, the more difficult it becomes.

"We have a limited number of resources. And I think the more we divide up those resources, the worse I think the trauma outcomes are eventually going to be," Hodgens said.

But trauma patient Sarah Ziebro sees it differently.

The 31 year-old was mauled by a dog in July, and it left her with scars that scrawled on her neck and face.

"My neck was ripped open, my carotid artery was really damaged. I had a lot of blood loss," she says.

She said it was because Blake Medical Center was so close, that she was able to survive.

"I have been able to recover in six months. If it had been worse, then it could have been brain damage for life," Sarah said.

Friday's meeting was the third of sixth panel hearings taking place across Florida on the consolidation plans.

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