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Rapides Regional Medical Center becomes trauma center

March 14, 2012


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ALEXANDRIA, La., March 14, 2012
– Rapides Regional Medical Center has been verified as Louisiana’s first Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT). The verification completes a two-year process by Rapides Regional.

“For years, Rapides Regional Medical Center has served as this area’s unofficial trauma center, seeing more than 60,000 patients in our Emergency Department each year, and more than 1,000 trauma admissions in one year alone,” said David Williams, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s chief executive officer. “With this designation, we’ve become the official trauma center for Central Louisiana – and by default, a trauma center option for much of the state.”

As a Level II trauma center, Rapides Regional Medical Center is the official treatment site for trauma cases involving falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Research shows medical care is most effective when begun within 60 minutes of a traumatic injury. However, nearly 45 million Americans do not have access to a Level I or II trauma center within one hour of being injured. That is equal to the populations of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama combined.

The Rapides Regional Trauma Center will service a wide swath of Louisiana that was without access to trauma services until now.

“The designation of Rapides Regional Medical Center as a Level II Trauma Center will benefit this area of the state in dramatic ways, most notably by reducing the mortality rate for severe traumatic injuries,” said Paige Hargrove, Executive Director of the Louisiana Emergency Response Network. “… The addition of Rapides Regional Medical Center as a Level II Trauma Center is a huge milestone in the state’s efforts in building a Statewide Trauma Network.

“The commitment made by the administration of Rapides Regional Medical Center to become a trauma center is a commitment to the community and the state to stand ready to provide the best trauma care for the communities they serve. The Louisiana Emergency Response Network commends the administration and team at Rapides for this tremendous accomplishment!”

Philip Lindsay, M.D., is the Trauma Services medical director at Rapides Regional Medical Center. Donna Lemoine, RN, BSN, EMT-Paramedic, is the director of trauma services.

The hospital also has in place two trauma registrars, trauma performance improvement coordinator and a team of Critical Care/Trauma Services surgeons available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This has been a very deliberate, well-thought through process,” said Dr. Lindsay. “Before we applied for trauma center status, we wanted to make sure we had the people and the processes in place to ensure that our trauma services were equal to or surpassing those services found in other areas.”
As part of its Level II Trauma Center preparation, Rapides Regional Medical Center was already providing:

  • Hospital-wide “Trauma Activation” for Level 1 and Level 2 traumas – including support from radiology, laboratory, surgery, ICU, social services, chaplain and security
  • On-call Trauma surgeon, at patient’s bedside on arrival or within 15 minutes
  • Ortho-Trauma coverage, 24 hours a day, seven days a week 
  • Neurosurgical coverage, 24 hours a day, seven days a week 
  • Anesthesiology coverage, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Surgery consults for ENT, Urology, Oral and Plastic surgeons
  • Dedicated operating room for emergency surgery.

In verifying the Rapides Regional Trauma Center, the ACS’ Committee on Trauma sought to ensure Rapides Regional was able to 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 pre-hospital stage through the rehabilitation process.

Verified trauma centers must meet essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual. The verification program provides confirmation that Rapides Regional Trauma Center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients.

The only other verified trauma center in Louisiana is the Level I center at Spirit of Charity – Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans.

“Level I Trauma Centers are typically found in state-funded hospitals that provide a trauma residency program and research capabilities,” noted Lemoine.

Lemoine said the mission of the Rapides Regional Trauma Center is not centered solely on treatment, but in also helping to prevent traumatic injuries.

“In other areas, once a hospital has become a designated trauma center, the number of trauma patients has increased,” she said. “We’re ready for that. But our goal is to also help prevent those traumatic injuries by offering education in our community on topics such as ATV safety, senior lifestyle and injury prevention and texting while driving.”

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