When you’ve suffered a traumatic injury, you want to know that you’re being treated by a team of experts in the field. Traumatic injuries can put your life on the line, and you want to be sure you’re headed to a facility that specializes in treatment.
This is where trauma centers come in. They’re staffed by experts who have been trained and outfitted to provide treatment in serious emergencies.
Evansville Surgical Associates has two trauma centers serving the tri-state state area. Trauma centers usually operate within emergency rooms to treat severe injuries such as gunshot wounds, automobile injuries, and major burns. Both of our locations are classified as level two trauma centers to best serve our region.
Trauma Surgery at Evansville Surgical Associates
Evansville Surgical Associates has two locations operating 24 hours per day to serve our community — Deaconess and St. Mary’s Hospital. Both are classified as level 2 trauma centers by the American College of Surgery. Additionally, all of our surgeons are certified in Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS).
We take our role in the community very seriously as we care for 3,000+ trauma patients annually. Along with trauma care, we also provide emergency surgery for a variety of conditions. We always have four surgeons on call 24/7 at Deaconess Midtown, Deaconess Gateway, St. Vincent Evansville, and a vascular surgeon to respond to any emergency that may arise.
What are trauma centers?
Trauma centers aren’t usually individual hospitals or treatment facilities. Instead, they are areas within hospitals outfitted to treat and heal the most high-risk injuries. These injuries need immediate attention and the care you receive could be the difference between life or death.
Many injuries can be considered traumatic. However, not all of them are considered trauma in a medical sense. While your appendicitis is certainly painful, it isn’t what trauma centers are designed to treat. Trauma centers are intended to treat medical emergencies such as:
- Gunshot wounds
- Blunt trauma
- Major automobile injuries
- Stab wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries
These facilities are staffed by healthcare professionals who have received specialized training in trauma care. They’re prepared to treat the most extreme injuries at any given moment. From different types of surgeons to radiologists to registered nurses, your local trauma center is primed and ready to treat your traumatic injury.
Trauma Centers vs Emergency Rooms
Given the purpose of trauma centers, it can be difficult to tell them apart from emergency rooms (ER). This is understandable, so it makes sense that trauma centers are often specialized areas inside an ER. In fact, trauma centers will often be referred to as an ER without any special distinction.
So what’s the difference between an emergency room and a trauma center?
Both areas handle medical emergencies. However, emergency rooms handle more “general” emergencies such as:
- Broken bones
- Loss of consciousness
- Possible heart attack
- Possible stroke
- Shallow breathing
ER staff are prepared to handle nearly everything that can be thrown at them. However, they leave the most extreme cases to the trauma center. These patients are in a fight for their lives. They’ll need highly trained experts to get them through. Trauma center staff have access to advanced training and equipment to handle the direst of circumstances.
Trauma Center Levels
In the same way that trauma centers differ from the rest of a hospital, there are differences between individual locations. Trauma centers can be broken down into levels from 1 to 5. Each ascending level offering more comprehensive care.
Criteria for levels are decided at the local and state level. Locations are verified by the American College of Surgeons to be verified as a trauma center and to help improve patient care.
Level 1 Trauma Centers
Level 1 trauma centers offer the most comprehensive care for patients. From prevention to rehab, these locations provide treatment for every step of your injury, 24 hours per day. These facilities have a staff of experts on diverse topics who also act as leadership for the surrounding region. They may also work as teachers and researchers to help improve patient care.
Level 2 Trauma Centers
Level 2 trauma centers, like St. Vincent and Deaconess Midtown, offer immediate treatment for patients from a wide-ranging group of specialists. They operate 24 hours per day and offer continuing education for trauma prevention and other relevant topics for their staff.
These facilities can treat a vast array of problems, but they occasionally may have to refer patients to a level 1 facility. Our St. Vincent and Deaconess Midtown locations work closely with level 1 trauma centers in Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, and St. Louis.
Level 3 Trauma Centers
Level 3 trauma centers offer an immediate diagnosis of conditions along with:
- Intensive care
They operate on a 24-hour basis. To ensure the best care possible, they have transfer agreements with level 1 and 2 trauma centers that can provide more comprehensive care. They act as backups for rural and community hospitals and provide continuing education for staff.
Level 4 Trauma Centers
Level 4 trauma centers focus on providing advanced life support for patients before they’re transferred to a higher-level facility. You can be confident knowing that nurses and physicians will be available when you arrive. Like level 3 trauma centers, they have agreements with higher-level facilities to ensure you get the treatment you need.
Level 5 Trauma Centers
Level 5 trauma centers specialize in evaluating, stabilizing, and diagnosing patients. Here, you will be prepared by the staff before being transferred to facilities classified as one to three. You will be surrounded by staff trained in trauma care who may be able to operate if necessary.
Evansville Surgical Associates provides trauma-trained surgeons and helps manage two trauma centers through three medical directors in our community:
- Dr. Jay Woodland – Deaconess
- Dr. Kevin McConnel – Adult Trauma at St. Vincent / Evansville
- Dr. Angela Martin – Pediatric Trauma at St. Vincent / Evansville
Both are level 2 facilities to provide the highest quality of care for our patients. Trauma centers often operate within emergency rooms to perform critical care. We work to treat the most severe injuries such as stab wounds, severe burns, and traumatic brain injuries.
Would you like to learn more about the services we provide? Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231 to schedule your appointment!
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm if you would like to schedule an appointment.