Your Healthy Family: How is an injury determined to be a trauma?

Posted at 7:48 AM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 09:48:58-04

In April, UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs was designated a Level I Trauma Center, making them the only hospital with the designation in southern Colorado.

As we learn more about what it means to have a level I trauma center in our area, it’s important to know how a trauma center functions.

In sharing stories recently of people who have received life saving trauma treatment, I have learned that a level I trauma center is much much more than just talented trauma doctors.

Potentially life saving treatment begins with first responders, says Dr. Paul Reckard.  “When an accident happens E.M.S gets notified, either by highway patrol or police or whoever the first people are on the scene.  E.M.S. then goes and assess the patient and they call into the hospital and give us a report. The charge nurse in the emergency room usually takes that information.  Then we have protocols in place, and based on whatever injuries that person may have, or their vital signs those are the big indicators that will dictate what level of trauma activation is put in place.”

The amount of staff needed for any given trauma depends on the level it’s given.  It’s up to the emergency department charge nurse or clerk to then alert everyone who is needed.

Dr. Reckard says, “There’s a trauma alert that happens, a page is sent out to everybody on the team that’s needed.  When they have the full trauma activation, the E.R. charge nurse or the clerk calls us directly on our phone, to tell us that we need to be down there right away.”

Coming up in a future story, we tell you who the many people are who staff a trauma room, their different jobs and how they all function together smoothly.