Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Steven A. Matarelli


Prehospital management of patients who are traumatically injured within the state of Florida starts with the use of the Florida Adult Trauma Scorecard Methodology. The scorecard methodology may indicate that a patient is a Trauma Alert based on applied physiological and other judgment criteria. However, patients may be transported via Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) without justified physiological needs. Rawls’ theory of justice posits that a fair and equal distribution of social resources is essential to public wellbeing. To evaluate this premise regarding prehospital trauma transports, archival 2015 data from the Florida Department of Health Trauma Registry was obtained. Using logistic regression, each trauma scorecard assessment criteria was individually and collectively evaluated regarding its predictive likelihood of a scene responder requesting HEMS versus ground ambulance transport. Controlling for trauma center locations, all five of the triage classifications illustrated a significant likelihood (p = 0.000) of HEMS transportation requests. Category 4 (EMS Judgment) predicted the highest likelihood of HEMS transport requests (b = 2.39, Wald X2(1) = 2026.88, OR = 10.9, p = .000, CI [9.83, 12.09]). Categories 4 (14.7%) and 6 (Local Criteria; [25.8%]) illustrated unexpectedly high percentages of emergency department discharge when Trauma Alert patients were HEMS transported. Over triage of patients to HEMS without meeting physiologic criteria provides less than an equal and fair distribution of public and private resources. State-level social change can be realized through HEMS transport criteria modifications applying more stringent application of physiologic patient condition scoring when determining the mode of prehospital scene response transport.