TUCSON, Ariz. — Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital began work as a Level One trauma center Saturday.
Doctors say with a second Level One trauma hospital -- the door opens for more care.
The hospital began as a Level Three trauma center. According to the American Trauma Society, that means it had the ability to assess, necessitate, provide surgery, and stabilize patients. The society explained the Level One destination means it now has around the clock total care and rehabilitation.
Nikki Castel, the chief operating officer at St. Joseph’s, explained trauma is anything from an injury sustained in a car accident to being shot or even just hit on the head.
“I’m very excited to be able to provide that service for the community. It means that EMS will be able to feel comfortable that we are able to care for these high acuity patients. So [it's a] big step forward to the hospital and quickly for the community as well,” Castel said.
She said the designation took years of planning and a lot of resources — not only that, but while working toward the designation there was an added challenge — COVID-19.
"It takes not only the trauma surgeons you need 24/7 in house, [it's] anesthesia, you need [Electronic Data Interchange] providers who are trauma trained, and then also a wide variety of different specialty services so you need 24/7 capabilities for orthopedic trauma surgery, a vascular surgeon, and cardiothoracic surgery -- things like that. Who would be able to come in and provide the extra support if needed," she said.
She added it took bringing in doctor Francis Ali-Osman and his multi-specialty surgery group of surgical specialists who provide level one trauma care at four centers around the state.
Ali-Osman said the expansion could positively impact the treatment of trauma patients.
“It would just expand the already wonderful medical care that that Banner has been riding on and live here and then get injured in different parts of town and there's a statistic that the closer you are to a care center when you're injured, the better your outcome -- the better your survival, and the better your overall outcome,” he said.
This is critical because he said Tucson-area trauma centers service the entire Southern Arizona region.
He and his team also specialize in treating trauma in-patients 60 years or older.
“We have what we call a G-60 geriatric trauma program that all patients 60 years of age or older, that are admitted to the hospital are put on this service, and it involves a multidisciplinary approach to these to these patients,” said Dr. Ali-Osman.
Banner University Medical Center also has a level one trauma center that Southern Arizona patients have been sent to for years.