St. David's HealthCare June 04, 2018

AUSTIN, Texas—On May 16, 2018, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center was verified as a Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes the trauma center’s dedication to providing exceptional care to the most critically injured patients. Level II is the highest trauma level a hospital can achieve without being affiliated with an academic research facility or residency program.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center began treating critically injured trauma patients in April 2016 as part of the verification process. Since then, the hospital has treated more than 6,000 trauma patients.

“This verification reflects our commitment to providing the highest level of care, and it underscores the dedication of our physicians, nurses and staff,” Todd Steward, chief executive officer of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said. “Several years ago, we identified a strong need for Level II trauma services in South Austin due to our proximity to three major thoroughfares—Interstate 35, Highway 71/Ben White Boulevard and MoPac Expressway—and we are pleased to be able to fill this critical need in our community.”

As a Level II Trauma Center, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center provides specialized medical and surgical services and resources to patients suffering from traumatic injuries, working closely with Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council’s (CATRAC) Trauma Service Area O to ensure efficient, high-quality trauma care to patients in Central Texas. Additionally, it provides trauma-prevention courses and community education opportunities.

During the verification process, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center opened a new Shock Trauma Unit—a higher-level Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for patients who have experienced traumatic injuries—including 10 additional ICU beds, a new trauma operating room (OR) and a hybrid suite. The hospital also added 10 new beds in a “step-down” unit for patients recently discharged from the ICU but still in need of a higher level of care. Additionally, it has dedicated trauma surgeons and a fellowship-trained critical care team in house 24/7, as well as expedited response times for other trauma surgical specialties, including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), cardiovascular and vascular surgery, urology and interventional radiology. The hospital also hired additional staff to accommodate the increase in patients and higher-level acuity that comes with treating trauma patients, including highly trained critical care nurses, anesthesiology support, respiratory support, blood bank and lab support, and imaging (CT, MRI, ultrasound) support.

“When treating traumatic injuries, the faster a patient receives care, the better the outcome,” Dr. Ernest Gonzalez, trauma medical director at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, said. “Being able to provide this level of care to patients in South Austin has already made a critical difference in our community, and we are pleased that the ACS has recognized these efforts.”

Established by the ACS in 1987, the organization’s Committee on Trauma Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers to provide the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is expected to receive its Level II designation by the state of Texas later this year.

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St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, which is part of St. David’s HealthCare, is a 300-bed acute care facility offering a range of complex specialties and sub-specialties, including a nationally accredited oncology program with the area’s only adult bone marrow transplant program; a Level II trauma program to treat critically injured trauma patients; a comprehensive cardiac program; full-service maternity and newborn care with Level I and II nurseries; and two full-service emergency centers in the communities of Bee Cave and Bastrop.

The American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College has over 72,000 members and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world. Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.