A day after hundreds of protesters objected to closing the trauma center at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, Los Angeles County has released findings that treatment at the center is "poor to marginal."
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, which runs King/Drew, released a one-page executive summary Tuesday that described the findings by two trauma experts. A full report is due in about two weeks.
The timing of the findings was questioned by some supporters of the trauma center, which serves a poor stretch of South Los Angeles and serves victims of gunshot wounds, stabbings and car accidents.
On Monday, the county Board of Supervisors held a hearing in which more than 90 speakers objected to their proposal to close the trauma unit, the second busiest in the county. Nearly 1,000 people protested the proposal.
"It wasn't disclosed yesterday when we were there all day," said Adrian Dove, chairman of the California Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights group. "It's troubling timing."
In a letter dated Monday, Robert Coscia, M.D., and Gill Cryer, M.D., said King/Drew's trauma center suffered from the same problems as the hospital as a whole, including a shortage of nurses and intensive-care beds, inadequate documentation, and a flawed method of correcting medical problems.
Cryer is the head of trauma at UCLA Medical Center and Coscia has served as the chairman of the American College of Surgeons' panel that reviews the quality of trauma centers nationwide. They will receive less than $10,000 from the county for their research.
The county's health director, Thomas Garthwaite, M.D., said he asked for the latest review last month because hospital supporters argued that King/Drew had one of the best trauma programs in the nation.