In an unprecedented move for Maryland, Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown discontinued its trauma program effective June 1 because it was unable to get enough surgeons for 24-hour staffing. The 337-bed hospital will consider staffing options with help from the American College of Surgeons later this month and may downgrade its trauma service from having a trauma surgeon on site 24 hours a day to having a trauma surgeon on call. Washington was one of nine hospitals in Maryland providing trauma services. Operation of its program will be suspended for at least two months while alternatives to the current staffing model are considered, a hospital spokeswoman said. In addition to problems getting enough surgeon coverage, the hospital also had difficulty finding enough neurosurgeons to provide on-call coverage. While Washington's emergency room will continue to function, patients it receives with severe trauma now will be stabilized and transferred to hospitals in Bethesda or Baltimore, each more than 60 miles away.
Short of surgeons, hospital suspends trauma care
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