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St. Mary’s Level II Trauma Center verified by American College of Surgeons

December 24, 2013

St. Mary’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center has been reverified as a Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma, confirming St. Mary’s position as the highest level trauma center between Denver and Salt Lake City and capable of caring for patients with complex, severe traumatic injuries.

A trauma center is a hospital equipped and staffed to provide emergency medical services to patients suffering injuries caused by trauma. The leading causes of traumatic injuries are motor vehicle accidents, falls, and gunshot wounds. Traumatic injuries require specialized and experienced multidisciplinary treatment and specialized resources.

 The American College of Surgeons’ review committee recognized St. Mary’s trauma care capabilities, including: 24/7 emergency department personnel with advanced training in trauma care; surgical expertise in trauma, orthopedics, cardiology, pediatrics and neurosurgery; and emergency and operating room facilities equipped to treat trauma patients.

“Taking care of patients suffering from traumatic injuries requires specialized training,” says Sarah Gahagan, RN, manager of St. Mary’s trauma care. “Members of St. Mary’s nursing staff who care for trauma patients have completed several special training courses, including the Trauma Nurse Core Course, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and the Emergency Nurse Pediatric Course or Pediatric Advanced Life Support course.”

St. Mary’s trauma services are also supported by a fleet of three medical transport vehicles (a helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft, and ground ambulance), diagnostic imaging technology, available blood products, and intensive care and rehabilitation services.

“Quality care of trauma patients depends on fast action and a coordinated effort from the patient’s transport to the hospital, to assessment of their injuries and surgery, through post-surgical care and rehabilitation. This continuity of care is very important for severely injured patients,” says Joel Schaefer, MD, medical director of St. Mary’s Trauma Services. “The ACS’s verification of our program tells the people of western Colorado we are prepared and experienced to take the best possible care of you or your loved one.”

Trauma centers are established and designated by local, regional, or state health care agencies. In Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment designates trauma centers, classified as Level I through V based on the severity of injury the facility is prepared and staffed to care for (Level I is the highest). The American College of Surgeons’ Verification Review Committee conducts extensive reviews of hospitals’ trauma services, including a site visit, to confirm the facilities can and have met the criteria to care for seriously injured patients.

St. Mary’s American College of Surgeons Trauma Center certificate of verification is valid until May 2016. St. Mary’s trauma program has been verified by the ACS continuously since 1993.

St. Mary’s takes care of more than 1,200 patients suffering from traumatic injuries each year.

Read an article about St. Mary's trauma center in The Daily Sentinel, December 24, 2013 edition. Subscription required.