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Tucson gains another trauma center

St. Joseph's Hospital trauma center goes live
Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 21:10:06-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucsonans now have another option to go to for trauma treatment. St. Joseph's Hospital added trauma services to its emergency department.

The addition of trauma services allows St. Joseph's to care for a higher level of critically injured patients. With this being almost two years in the making, St. Joseph's officials say adding a trauma center adds specialized services to the area.

"Adding trauma just ramps up the whole level. We're going to add a trauma surgical intensive care unit to go along with the medical and the other units. And then we also bring in specialists that don't have to be on-call for a regular hospital," said Paige Gesing, St. Joseph's trauma director. Such as orthopedic, vascular, and hand surgeons. But having a trauma center now makes those surgeons available at St. Joseph's around the clock.

Francis Ali-Osman has practiced trauma surgery for the past six years in Phoenix, and has come to Tucson to help and work at St. Joseph's trauma center. He says having another center in the Tucson-metro area is long overdue.

"Banner is here in town as well. They're a little bit more towards downtown near the freeway - we're here a little bit more east. However, studies have shown that the closer you are to a trauma center when you're critically injured, the greater your chance of survival and having a good outcome," said Ali-Osman, St. Joseph's trauma medical director.

"If you're just looking at statistics and that Phoenix has 4.3 million people and they have 11 trauma centers, and the basin of Tucson has over a million people and there's one trauma center - speaks to the need of another trauma center," said Gesing.

Adding trauma services included adding two new trauma rooms and renovating the ER and ICU with new equipment.

Nurses and staff have also trained with "trauma drills" to prepare for the launch of these services that went live Friday at noon.