Good news for those seriously injured in the Fort Worth area: John Peter Smith Hospital has just received official approval to be a Level 1 trauma center, the highest level possible.
Previously, since JPS was only a Level 2 center, critically injured victims, including people with severed digits, had to be transferred to other hospitals, including Harris Methodist or Parkland Hospital in Dallas (nationally known for its burns unit).
I have handled serious personal injury cases where urgent medical care was delayed when JPS was not able to treat my injured client.
On at least two ocasions, the patient died as a result One young man had been tragically struck by an 18 wheeler as he stood on the inside median of Interstate 35 helping his driver change a flat tire, but he died the next day at a different hospital, when JPS was only a few minutes from the scene.
Another problem I have heard about from my clients on numerous occasions is the lengthy wait times to see doctors in the ER. I have heard that people have to wait five or six hours in the waiting room, and even longer.
JPS has promised to work on this situation by increasing the hours available at its urgent care clinic in the neighborhood.
According to its Chief Operating Officer, the percentage of ER patients who left without being treated by a physician had decreased from 20 percent in 2008 to 2 percent last year.
Especially since Fort Worth’s population is now 720,000, it is hard to believe that it took so long for our county hospital to become a Level 1 trauma center.