A crisis affecting every geographic region and every socioeconomic segment of the United States is threatening the future viability of emergency and trauma care in America. As the financial and social burden of providing trauma care has fallen on individual states, hospitals and physicians, record numbers of emergency departments and trauma centers have been forced to close. The ultimate cost of these closures falls upon patients who will receive inadequate emergency and trauma care. In the fall of 2004 King Drew Medical Center Trauma Services, the second largest trauma center in Los Angeles County, closed. Continuing on this path may threaten the emergency and trauma care in the United States, touted as one of the finest in the world. This article provides a general overview of the trauma center crisis in California and reviews the history of the problem and its future implications in California as well as the United States.