The readers’ forum

Protecting Ryder Trauma Center


This spring, Jackson Health System has been meeting with civic leaders and residents around Jackson North Medical Center and Jackson South Community Hospital to discuss our plans to expand the world-class service of Ryder Trauma Center into those neighborhoods. Understandably, our closest neighbors have concerns and questions, particularly about the occasional helicopter flights that would bring badly injured patients.

Many have said they would rather be served at Ryder, even though it’s a few minutes further away.

From a medical perspective, we agree completely. Ryder was built to serve this entire community with the country’s best trauma experts. In partnership with the University of Miami, the investments made by our taxpayer-owners over the last 20 years have provided one of the world’s top programs.

But as state regulators draft new rules for the number of trauma centers in every Florida county, it’s clear that new rules may create competition in Miami-Dade. If Jackson doesn’t expand its program, private hospitals will seize the opportunity. And, because paramedics are legally required to take trauma victims to the closest trauma center, Ryder will serve fewer and fewer patients. The industry leading sub-specialists who have dedicated their careers exclusively to trauma orthopedics or trauma neurosurgery may no longer have enough cases to support their research and innovation. And because every Miami-Dade program would be equally small, those experts wouldn’t leave for another local hospital — they’d leave our community entirely.

More than 20 years ago, this community saw the danger of relying too heavily on private hospitals for trauma care . . . every single one closed its doors within a year, leaving taxpayers to fill the void. If we are to return to this kind of competitive market, expanding to Jackson North and Jackson South is the only way to protect the gem that is Ryder.

Jackson has too often failed because it refused to adapt to changes in our healthcare landscape. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.

Carlos A. Migoya, president & CEO, Jackson Health System, Miami

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