Trauma centers make safer communities

Life-threatening injuries — or traumas — happen in an instant. Car accidents and falls are the two most common causes of traumas. 

Saving the life of someone with a traumatic injury requires a strong chain of medical services — 911 dispatchers, medics, hospital staff, emergency physicians and caregivers, surgeons and Life Flight personnel.

As a Level 4 Trauma Center, Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) provides advanced trauma life support (ATLS) to stabilize patients for transfer to a higher-level trauma center.

What Level 4 means

Level 4 Trauma Centers:

  • Have basic emergency department facilities to implement ATLS protocols and 24-hour laboratory coverage. Trauma nurses and physicians are available upon patient arrival. 
  • May provide surgery and critical care services.
  • Have transfer agreements with Level 1 or 2 Trauma Centers for patients requiring greater care.
  • Incorporate a comprehensive quality assessment program. 
  • Are involved with prevention efforts and must have an active outreach program for referring communities.

Actively tackling community hazards

A key benefit of having a trauma center in our community is to prevent future traumas.

New signage denotes an upcoming hazard at Ft. Stevens State Park.

New signage denotes an upcoming hazard at Ft. Stevens State Park.

In 2016, CMH’s trauma team noticed that one-third of the ambulance calls for Fort Stevens State Park over the past two years had been for bicycle and skateboard accidents in one tunnel on the bike trails. 

CMH’s Trauma Coordinator, Jill Tillotson, and Trauma Registrar, Jennifer Perrigo, investigated the tunnel with the Oregon State Park district manager, Fort Stevens’ supervisor and Medix’s operational manager. They developed a plan for alerting people of the hazard as they approach the tunnel. New signs and paint have reduced the number of traumas to zero.