Clinical

UTMB Re-Certified as a Level I Trauma Center


Emergency Sign
By Christopher Smith Gonzalez | June 09, 2017

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has been recertified as a Level I Trauma Center by the Verification Review Committee of the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons.

This achievement recognizes UTMB’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients.

UTMB is one of only 19 Level I trauma centers in the state and one of four in the Houston-Galveston region. UTMB is also the only Level I trauma center in a nine-county East Texas service region.

“UTMB has a long history of taking care of patients after catastrophic disasters,” said Dr. William Mileski, chief of trauma services and co-director of the emergency department at UTMB. “The reason we are still here and able to provide this high level of care is due to the hard work and dedication of the men and women who come in day and night ready for any emergency.”

UTMB was first designated as a Level I trauma center in 1999 and was considered one of the best in the nation. Hurricane Ike in 2008 caused UTMB to lose the designation but the university officially regained its top level trauma center status in 2011 and has been continually recertified since then.

While the Texas Department of State Health Services designates the Level I Trauma hospitals in the state, the American College of Surgeons conducts the review. Established by the college in 1987, the Committee on Trauma’s Consultation/Verification 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 prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

“It’s important for the health of people in the region that we continue to have the facilities and trained staff that can care for any patient with any injury or medical emergency,” said Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and CEO of UTMB Health System. “We are very proud of this designation which exemplifies the excellence that we strive for every single day.”

Being a Level I trauma center means UTMB’s emergency department is able to handle major traumatic injuries, including mass casualty situations, and has 24-hour coverage by general surgeons and care in a number of different specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric and critical care.

A Level I center must also have a burn unit or a transfer agreement with another hospital to provide burn care. UTMB’s Blocker Burn Unit was the first burn center in the U.S. to be certified by both the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association, an accreditation it has maintained continuously since 1996.

UTMB also takes a lead in public education with programs such as the Save A Life Tour, a day-long program for area high school and college students about the deadly ramifications of distracted and impaired driving. UTMB is also participating in a new nationwide campaign titled Stop the Bleed designed to teach people how to control bleeding.

“We pride ourselves on providing patient and family centered care and being a leader in trauma care is part of that mission,” said Dr. David L. Callender, president of UTMB. “It is important to our community and to the larger Houston region that we provide this top level of trauma care as well as training for the next generation of healthcare professionals.”

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