|January 23, 2012|
SPRINGFIELD The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma has re-verified Baystate Medical Center as a Level 1 trauma center, reinforcing the Springfield hospital’s place among the most essential and capable medical facilities in the nation.
Accompanying the Level 1 trauma re-verification is a verification as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, meaning that Baystate has been acknowledged as having high-level capabilities to care for seriously injured children.
The re-verification, received after an extensive independent review of Baystate’s staff, facilities and protocols by a team of veteran trauma surgeons, is based on a comprehensive set of criteria, including the number of injured patients treated per year; the skill and experience of physicians, nurses and other staff in the trauma center around the clock; the level of technology available to support care for injured patients, and the trauma center’s commitment to continuous improvement, community outreach and education, and injury prevention.
As the only Level 1 trauma center in Western Massachusetts, Baystate Medical Center treats the region’s most critically injured patients. Baystate’s trauma program works closely with the hospital’s emergency department, one of the busiest in New England, to bring the highest level of care to trauma patients facing the gravest health crises.
National studies have shown that hospitals that have successfully completed the trauma center verification process have better patient outcomes (lower death rates and complications) than those that do not.
Dr. Ronald Gross, chief of Trauma and Emergency Surgery Services at Baystate Medical Center, stressed the importance and the value of going through the American College of Surgeons verification process.
“We provide the very best level of care to the injured patients that arrive here from across the breadth of Western Massachusetts and beyond. This recognition lets our patients know that they have the very highest level of emergency medical and surgical resources available. We are proud to take that responsibility and uphold these standards of service for our community,” Gross said.
“Whether it’s from a car crash, a sports injury or a fall, injured kids have access to a wide range of resources here at Baystate, from dedicated surgical teams to a pediatric intensive care unit [at Baystate Children’s Hospital to pediatric orthopedic specialists,” Dr. Kevin Moriarty, the hospital’s chief of Pediatric Surgery, said.
Dr. Niels Rathlev, chair of Emergency Medicine at Baystate Medical Center, pointed to the importance of having world-class trauma capabilities close to home. “With many grave injuries, each extra minute it takes to travel to a qualified medical facility worsens the odds for the patient. When our patients arrive at a top-level trauma center so quickly after suffering an injury, their chances for full recovery improve significantly.”
In the U.S., trauma is responsible for more potential years of life lost for people under the age of 50 than all other diseases combined. A trauma patient is defined as “an injured patient who requires timely diagnosis and treatment of actual or potential injures by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, supported by the appropriate resources, to diminish or eliminate the risk of death or permanent disability.”
“In a critical trauma case, having the right expertise around the patient no matter what time or day or night, on a weekday, weekend or holiday makes all the difference,” Dr. Richard Wait, chair of the Department of Surgery at Baystate, said. “From the ambulance or helicopter, to triage, to the trauma bay, to the or, our patients are getting the best. This designation means the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma agrees.”
Established by the ACS in 1987, the Verification/Consultation Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospitalization phase through the rehabilitation process.
Baystate also plays an important role in the prevention of injury. “Trauma is one of our greatest public-health challenges,” Ida Konderwicz, RN, pediatric trauma coordinator for Baystate, said. “One of our most important roles is that of education teaching kids the importance of bike helmets, educating people about the importance of seatbelt use, and raising awareness on drowsy driving. It all makes a difference.”
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College has 59,000 members and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world. Longstanding achievements have placed the College in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.
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