A trauma center is hospital capable of rendering medical care to patients suffering traumatic injuries. Yet, there are several different levels. A trauma center can be either a level one, two, three, or four. In order to qualify as a trauma center, a hospital is required to meet criteria set forth by the American College of Surgeons. There are a few factors that determine what level a center is classified as. These factors include the type of resources available at the particular center, as well as the amount of patients admitted annually. Each level classification must adhere to certain national standards.
A level one trauma hospital maintains a wide range of specialists and equipment, which are available 24-hours a day. These centers must also meet annual volume requirements for admitting severely injured persons. One criterion that places a level one center above others is that the center must have a program of research and be a leader in the field of trauma education/injury prevention.
A level two hospital works collaboratively with a level one hospital. This center provides care which supplements the medical expertise of the level one center. A level two center provides 24-hour services. However, the services only include the essential specialties, personnel, and equipment. Unlike level one centers, the minimum volume requirements for level two centers are dependent upon local conditions. Also, level two centers are not required to maintain a research or surgical residency program.
A level three trauma hospital maintains the basics. While they do not have the same amount of specialists as a level one or two, they are capable of meeting the needs for most trauma patients, including emergency resuscitation, surgery, and intensive care. These types of centers have a transfer agreement with either a level one or level two center so that back-up care may be provided in extreme situations.
A level four hospital provides essential care, such as stabilizations and treatment, where no alternatives exist. These centers are often located in remote areas. It’s important to understand the differences among trauma hospital classifications.
Even though all levels are capable of stabilizing patients, specialty care may only be available at certain hospitals and thus, may require you to transfer. Consider the following:
- Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital: Level Two trauma center
- Sentara Norfolk General Hospital: Level One trauma center
- Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC: Level One trauma center
As attorneys specializing in accident cases, our most seriously injured clients are often inpatients at one of these three facilities. People in car wrecks in South Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks are most likely to be treated at these Sentara centers. Pitt Memorial serves as the main trauma center for much of North-East North Carolina.