UCHealth Memorial’s new Level I Trauma designation, the first of any hospital in southern Colorado, is helping expanding the trauma care it already provides to give people the option to stay near friends and family while seeking the care they need.
The change means they’ll now offer around-the-clock care from trauma surgeons and specialists in areas like neurosurgery.
The goal is to offer the people of southern Colorado the same level of medical treatment they’d otherwise seek elsewhere.
"A level 1 trauma center is the highest designation that you can get in a trauma center in the United States," said Dr. Paul Reckard, Pediatric Trauma Director at UCHealth Memorial.
"It reflects a level of commitment to not only trauma care but trauma education and research."
The designation also means UCHealth Memorial must treat at least 320 severely injured patients a year, which, according to the hospital, is a number they already surpass on a yearly basis.
In fact, not too long ago, now-18-year-old London Lyle was one of those severely injured.
The date was October 18 2016, she was in an car accident on Broadmoor Valley Road and her SUV flipped five or six times.
"I was ejected from the vehicle and then it landed on top of me," said Lyle.
"The next I remember is waking up here at Memorial and being wheeled into surgery and everyone being so kind to me when I was in so much pain."
With more than 20 broken bones and the stress of surgery, the fact that Lyle didn’t have to fly out to seek treatment made all the difference to her mom and may make the difference for other families moving forward.
"For the friends and family who could be here with me all day that day waiting while she was in surgery, that was enormous," said Christine O’Brien, Lyle’s mother.
"People tend to think we have to get to an enormous market to get that kind of care."
UCHealth memorial will be adding five trauma surgeons by the end of September, doubling their total number of trauma surgeons to 10.
The hospital will also fulfill the academic requirement of the designation, teaching medical residents how to participate in trauma care and contributing to research and publications.