East Texas Medical Center Tyler has been redesignated by the Texas Department of Health as a comprehensive Level I trauma facility. This is the highest designation possible, and ETMC Tyler is the only Level I trauma facility in the East Texas region.
ETMC Tyler was surveyed this spring, and the state designation is good for a three-year period. Texas Commissioner of Health David Lakey, M.D., says in a letter, "Your hospital is to be commended for your ongoing commitment to quality care for the trauma patients in your area. I also want to thank your staff for assuming key leadership roles in the development of our state trauma system. Congratulations on this impressive accomplishment."
ETMC Vice President of Emergency/Trauma Services Jim Parisi says, "We are very proud of meeting the tough standards for trauma care by the American College of Surgeons. In 1998, ETMC Tyler became the first Level I trauma center in East Texas. And this year, following a stringent survey of our facilities, staff, procedures and outcome statistics by the ACS, ETMC Tyler was re-designated as the region's one and only Level I trauma center."
Parisi notes, "Studies show that having a Level I trauma center saves more lives, and in fact, survival rates have increased dramatically since we became the region's only Level I trauma center."
A regional resource
According to the American College of Surgeons, a Level I facility is a regional resource trauma center that is a tertiary care facility central to the trauma care system. This facility must have the capability of providing leadership and total care for every aspect of injury, from prevention through rehabilitation.
In addition to acute care responsibilities, Level I trauma centers have the major responsibility of providing leadership in education, research, and system planning. This responsibility extends to all hospitals caring for injured patients in their regions. A Level I trauma facility must meet a long list of strict requirements, including:
- Trauma surgeons on site 24 hours a day, not on call at home
- Anesthesiologists on site 24 hours a day
- State-of-the-art operating rooms reserved for trauma patients 24 hours a day
- A dedicated Trauma Intensive Care Unit
- A full-time research team to identify and track advances in trauma treatment
- An aggressive quality improvement program to assure the ongoing use of the most effective treatment methods for patients
- Meticulous tracking of outcome statistics through the Trauma Registry date program
- High training and certification requirements for every trauma team member
- A fellowship program, which allows visiting physicians to shadow trauma experts to learn the most advanced treatment methods.
According to the Texas Department of Health, there are 13 Level I trauma centers in the state, including three in Dallas, two in Houston, Ft. Sam Houston, El Paso, Temple, San Antonio, Lubbock, Galveston, Lackland Airforce Base and ETMC Tyler.