Hospital aims to become a Level II trauma center | News, Sports, Jobs
Seeking to become the state’s second Level II trauma center, Maui Memorial Medical Center will dedicate a team of four surgeons strictly to trauma patients and cut activation times in half starting Tuesday.
The island’s only acute care hospital currently has general and trauma surgeons who rotate on call to ensure there is always a qualified surgeon available for emergency department patients.
But the new 24/7 trauma team “Means there will always be a surgeon on call dedicated to trauma patients – and this is the only surgery these doctors will do,” Hospital spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda said Thursday.
The team will be “Activated in minutes” to respond to a traumatic event in hospital, including injuries that may require immediate resuscitation and interventions to save lives or limbs, as well as injuries from traffic accidents, fires, shark attacks or breaking waves.
The maximum response time to full activation of the trauma will now be 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes, the hospital said in a note to employees.
The upgrades are part of Wailuku Hospital’s path to achieving American College of Surgeons verification as a Level II trauma center, the ACS highest ranking for a community hospital.
ACS defines a level II trauma center as a “Is able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients”, according to the American Trauma Society. The elements of a Level II facility include immediate 24-hour coverage by general surgeons, as well as coverage by specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and intensive care.
Level II centers offer injury prevention and continuing education programs for staff as well as a comprehensive quality assessment program. They can direct care needs such as cardiac surgery, hemodialysis and microvascular surgery to a level I trauma center.
Because of the many requirements involved, it will take Maui Memorial nearly two years to fully implement it before the official ACS certification survey, said Dallarda.
Maui Memorial, operated by Maui Health, is currently a Level III trauma center, designated by the State Department of Health in 2013. Under this designation, the hospital must adhere to specific guidelines and undergo an assessment every three years to maintain its status.
The ACS does not designate trauma centers, but rather verifies that the facility has the necessary resources to provide optimal care to an injured patient, such as engagement, preparedness, policies, patient care and l ‘performance improvement, said Dallarda.
She noted that the ACS requirements for Level II require “Even more dedicated trauma services” as the current designation of the hospital, including dedicated surgeons. ACS verification is nationally recognized.
Currently, the only Level I trauma center in Hawaii is Queen’s Medical Center in Oahu. The designation requires sufficient staff and facility resources available only at educational institutions, Dallarda said.
The Tripler Army Medical Center in Oahu is the state’s only Level II trauma center, Dallarda added.
Maui Memorial treats about 1,000 trauma patients per year, and the number is growing with the addition of subspecialty surgeons, according to Dallarda.
Dr Art Chasen, trauma surgeon and director of trauma at Maui Health, said there was a need for supervised trauma care, noting Maui’s workforce and participation in sports as well as land and water activities. “Who have the potential for traumatic injuries.”
“We also have a growing population of kupuna who frequently experience falls and other injuries requiring trauma care,” he said.
He also highlighted the rapid return of tourists as restrictions related to the pandemic eased and visitors’ need for trauma care.
“The audit with ACS aligns the level of care and service we provide with some of the best trauma centers in the country,” Chasen said.
The other three surgeons on the team are Drs. Sergio Lugo, Beth Jarrett and Stephanie Yan.
Dallarda said Maui Health would hire other mid-level providers such as nurse practitioners and medical assistants to directly support the trauma surgery team.
Other departments involved in the care of trauma patients will look at their own teams and expand to meet ACS requirements as well as to provide quality care to the growing volume of patients they see and that. hospital expects to admit. eventually grows, Dallarda added.
In recent years, Maui Health has expanded its surgical services, including orthopedics, plastic surgery, interventional radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, vascular surgery, and neurosurgery, which has reduced the need to transfer trauma patients off the island.
Since 2018, the number of trauma patients at the Maui Memorial requiring transfer off the island has fallen from 19% to just 3%, said Dallarda.
To increase awareness of traumatic injuries, the Maui Health Trauma Program has community outreach and education efforts. Prior to the pandemic, the program worked with Maui County Ocean Safety on spinal cord injury prevention and education. There was also “Stop the bleeding” public classes that trained teachers in post-injury bleeding control techniques and helped emergency medical personnel learn to teach the technique to others.
Stop the Bleed is a national campaign that encourages spectators to become trained, equipped and empowered to help with hemorrhagic emergencies before professional help arrives, Maui Health said. Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventable death.
About 40% of trauma-related deaths globally are due to bleeding or its consequences, according to Maui Health, whose trauma program donated eight Stop the Bleed kits at Kahului Airport this month.
* Melissa Tanji can be contacted at [email protected]