The Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons has reverified UTMB as a Level 1 Trauma Center, the highest level of trauma care available.
The Level 1 Trauma Center at UTMB is one of three centers for adults in the greater Houston area and is the lead trauma center for a nine-county region of Southeast Texas.
“We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication that our staff put forth every single day to make sure that we are always prepared to provide the highest level of trauma care,” said Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and CEO of UTMB Health System. “We always want everyone to be safe but we are very proud to be able to offer the best in trauma care.”
A Level I Trauma Center has to provide total care for every possible injury — from prevention through rehabilitation. Level 1 centers are required to have 15 physician specialists on call and available 24/7.
A center also must have a burn unit or a transfer agreement with another hospital. UTMB’s Blocker Burn Unit in 1996 became the first burn center in the United States to be certified by both the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association, an accreditation it has maintained continuously since 1996.
Dr. William J. Mileski, head of trauma services at UTMB, praised staff members and said, “The hard-working men and women who devote so much to helping their patients are the real reason that we are a Level 1 center.”
UTMB first gained Level 1 Trauma Center status in 1999 but was forced to close its emergency room in September 2008 in the wake of Hurricane Ike. When the emergency room opened a year later, UTMB was once again able to provide the same level of trauma care as it did before the storm. However, to regain Level 1 designation as specified by the American College of Surgeons
, UTMB had to document that it was again providing the research support, educational programs and 24-hour availability of specialty care required of such trauma centers, and collect that data for 12 months.
Other Level 1 requirements include:
- 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons, and prompt availability of care in specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric and critical care.
- Ongoing trauma training and quality assessment programs.
- Continuing education for trauma team members.
- Community outreach in prevention to surrounding communities.
- Research efforts meant to result in innovations in trauma care.