UMC re-verified as level 1 trauma center - FOX34 Lubbock

UMC re-verified as level 1 trauma center

LUBBOCK, Texas -

The level 1 designation recognizes UMC's Trauma Center for providing "optimal" care for injured patients.

The American College of Surgeons sets a trauma center's level based on its service to the surrounding area.

"That service involves the surgeons themselves, not just trauma surgeons, but also specialty surgeons such as neurosurgeons, ENT or facial surgeons," Steven Brooks, trauma medical director for UMC, said.

Physical resources and immediacy of care also determine a center's level, Brooks said.

"For example, at our level 1 institution, our trauma surgeons are awake, wandering around the hospital taking care of patients day and night, 24 hours a day," Brooks said.

UMC has been successfully re-verified for years, but the requirements have become more demanding, he said.

"By the American College of Surgeons recognizing us and continuing our level 1 status, that recognizes that our institution meets and exceeds the demands of the highest level trauma center that there is in the country," he said.

Approximately 85 percent of the center's cases fall under blunt trauma, Brooks said, which includes car wrecks and falls. It also treats several penetrating injuries, like stabbings or gunshot wounds.

UMC remains the only level 1 trauma center in West Texas, receiving patients from hospitals across the South Plains and eastern New Mexico.

"We take care of trauma patients in 250-mile radius, and if you do the math, that's nearly 200,000 square miles," Brooks said. "I tell people, trauma patients who don't go to Denver or don't go to Dallas, anyone in between often comes to us here in Lubbock."

Overall, Brooks said the level 1 designation means patients who are traumatically injured can expect to receive the "highest level possible" of care.

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