Southeast Alaska is a beautiful place with thousands of opportunities for adventure and just as many people willing to take advantage of at least one or two of them no matter the season. With adventure, often comes the risk of injuries – some minor and some extremely serious.
When someone is seriously injured, time is critical and quickly accessing medical care is essential. Sometimes, having access to a trauma center means the difference between life and death. As luck would have it, Southeast Alaskans have access to Level IV trauma centers; SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital is one of them.
The highest level trauma center is Level I. In Alaska, Level II and Level IV hospitals are available in the state with Level IV being the most common. Having Level IV trauma centers such as Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital sprinkled throughout the state is extremely important, as we can immediately provide the initial evaluation, assessment, stabilization, and life support so critical patients can transfer to higher level trauma centers either within Alaska or out of state.
Regardless of whether a trauma center is a Level I, Level II, Level III, or Level IV when it comes to survival, national statistics have shown that patients taken to designated trauma centers have a 25 percent better outcome than those taken to a medical facility without that designation.
Be assured that meeting the requirements for trauma center designation in Alaska is not simply about having appropriate and adequate staff then filling out some paperwork. Obtaining and maintaining the designation means a lot of extra work by implementing an ongoing performance improvement program that specifically covers trauma care at the facility. Level IV centers must develop a program that includes a meaningful review process and provides continuing education for staff to maintain consistency of care and patient safety.
SEARHC’s Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital takes the commitment to maintaining our trauma center designation and to being one of the region’s most crucial healthcare assets as one of our greatest responsibilities.