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WFUBMC's Level I Trauma Center Receives National Recognition

The trauma center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) has been verified as a Level I trauma center by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. A national accreditation, this designation is in addition to the Trauma Center''s earlier Level I status, given by the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services.

With this three-year certification, WFUBMC is now the only pediatric Level I trauma center in North Carolina and one of two medical centers in the state earning the national Level I accreditation for adults.

"This is an important accomplishment for the Medical Center, which shows the commitment it has made to the treatment of the trauma patient," said Wayne Meredith, M.D., director of WFUBMC Trauma Services and chair of general surgical sciences.

The Level I verification program for hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients from emergency department care through the rehabilitation process.

"This is an enormous accomplishment for faculty and staff," said Robert Letton, M.D., the director of pediatric trauma services at WFUBMC. "To be the only Level I pediatric trauma center shows an outstanding commitment on behalf of the institution, its faculty and staff, to provide exemplary health care for patients in the state."

The level of verification is voluntarily requested by the hospital. An on-site review of the hospital is conducted by a team of surgeons experienced in the field of trauma. Using the current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual as a guide, this team determines if the criteria for the requested level has been met.

"This certification is much harder to attain than the state certification, which is required to be recognized as a trauma center in the state," said Dianne Wheaton, trauma services coordinator at WFUBMC. "However, our physicians, nurses and staff felt our trauma center provided the best care in the region, and the American College of Surgeons agreed."

Key elements of a Level I trauma center include 24-hour, in-house availability by trauma surgeons and availability of care in specialties such as orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, and critical care. Other capabilities include cardiac, hand, pediatric and microvascular surgery, and hemodialysis. The Level I trauma center provides leadership in prevention, public education, and continuing education of the trauma team members.

The Level I trauma center is committed to continued improvement through a comprehensive performance improvement program and an organized research effort to help direct new innovations in trauma care, according to guidelines from the American College of Surgeons.

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