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Grand Strand Regional Medical Center Receives Verification as a Level II Trauma Center

April 25, 2012

The trauma program at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center has received verification as a Level II trauma center by the Verification Review Committee (VRC), an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons.

The Grand Strand Regional trauma center is the only American College of Surgeons verified Level II trauma center in South Carolina.

The verification follows an extensive site survey and review in January 2012 by a team of American College of Surgeons reviewers experienced in the field of trauma

Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance as outlined by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. A hospital’s designation level allows EMS and first responders to know exactly what the hospital’s capabilities are for caring for their trauma patient.

“The American College of Surgeons verification of our Level II trauma center is a result of the commitment by physicians, staff and community to bring this higher level of care to our region.  Recruitment and education were key components of building this program,” said Doug White, chief executive officer.

“The trauma program includes five trauma surgeons, one trauma orthopedic surgeon, anesthesiologists as well as emergency department physicians.  All critical care and emergency department nurses completed trauma nursing core curriculum in addition to the required advanced cardiac and pediatric life support training. In addition, trauma staff talked to hundreds of area residents about injury prevention at community events.”

“The trauma service has been a tremendous benefit to this region in the past year.  Over 1,200 trauma patients were treated in 2011,” added White.

Grand Strand Regional officials announced their intention of pursuing Level II trauma center verification in October 2009.  Throughout 2010, hospital officials and physicians consulted with trauma experts and recruited trauma physicians, specialists and trauma nurses to implement the program

A Level II trauma center requires a trauma surgeon and anesthesia staff to be in-house 24/7 with major surgical specialties on-call but with the clear commitment to be in the emergency department when the patient arrives.  Other requirements include operating room availability 24/7 and operating room staff on-call and available 24/7.

In November 2010, Grand Strand Regional began offering services equivalent to a Level II trauma service as the start of a one-year verification period with the American College of Surgeons.

“A trauma patient is someone who has suffered serious and life-threatening physical injury with the potential for secondary complications such as shock, respiratory failure or even death,” explained Lewis Dickinson, MD, trauma director. “In many cases, the difference between life and death following a trauma is time.”

In addition to staff recruitment, the hospital built two dedicated trauma rooms in the expanded emergency department and completed a new helipad, adjacent to the emergency department.

“The trauma upgrade was a major financial and human resources commitment by Grand Strand Regional but the end result is that we are saving the lives of more people in this region,” said Dr. Dickinson. “A victim’s chances of survival are greatest if care is received within a short period of time after a severe injury. In a life threatening accident, the chance of survival will increase dramatically if there is a verified trauma program close to the victim.”

Grand Strand Regional Medical Center a 269-bed acute care medical center.  The hospital treated over 70,000 emergency department patients in 2011 and is ranked #1 in cardiac surgery in South Carolina by HealthGrades.

Grand Strand Regional’s parent company, HCA, provided over $2.5 million in funding for the trauma upgrade.