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Oaklawn becomes Calhoun County's only state-designated trauma center

Oct. 7, 2016  MARSHALL – Oaklawn Hospital has become the only hospital in Calhoun County to be designated officially as one of Michigan’s trauma centers.

The state’s designation of Oaklawn as a Level III Trauma Center is based primarily on criteria established by the American College of Surgeons.

“This is an exciting time for us because of the great importance of such a designation,” said Oaklawn President and CEO Ginger Williams. “It also bestows on us a profound sense of responsibility, because we must make certain to continue to live up to – and exceed – the high standards of a Level III trauma facility.”

The designation reflects that Oaklawn’s trauma specialists are available to respond quickly and effectively to medical emergencies at any time, Williams said.

“Our team of medical professionals is highly trained and each individual member is committed to the needs of all patients – especially when the challenge is sudden and immediate,” Williams said. “Our persistent work means that Oaklawn continues to offer a full range of services and skills close to home in Calhoun County and among the many other communities we serve.”

“This is an excellent thing for the community,” said Dr. Andrew Gordon, Oaklawn’s trauma medical director and a general surgeon with the Oaklawn Medical Group. “A lot of people put in a lot of hard work to achieve this designation.

“Everybody thinks about car accidents and gunshot wounds as trauma,” Gordon added, “but there actually are a number of other issues that are more common, such as falls and hip fractures. A community has to be able to take care of such things. This reinforces our ability to do that, and to help people get to an appropriate facility if necessary.”

According to guidelines established by the American College of Surgeons, a trauma center’s ranking is measured based on the facility’s commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care and performance improvement.

Although trauma categories vary from state to state, a Level III Trauma Center is one that has demonstrated an ability to provide 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of a general surgeon, orthopedic surgeons and an operating-room team.

“It means that there is a quick and thorough assessment of an emergency patient’s condition, as well as resources to provide resuscitation, surgery, intensive care and stabilization if needed,” Williams said. Such a center also works with higher-level facilities that provide back-up resources for the care of patients with exceptionally severe injuries.

The designation also recognizes the medical facility’s incorporation of a quality-improvement  program; backup care for rural and community hospitals; continued education of nursing and allied health-care personnel; ongoing injury-prevention efforts; and the existence of an outreach program in regional communities.

“Michigan’s trauma system is designed to ensure that the right patient is taken to the right hospital in the right amount of time,” said Kimberly Campbell, Oaklawn’s emergency department nursing director and trauma program manager. “Hospitals assess their resources and capabilities and apply for the trauma designation level that matches the resources available.”

“Oaklawn has always provided care for injured patients,” Campbell said. “The designation validates our ability to continue to serve the community and to keep patients close to home in the event of an injury that can be safely and effectively cared for by the providers at Oaklawn.”

“To be designated as a Level III facility, several criteria must be validated by a survey team,” Campbell said. “Some aspects that led to this designation include the fact that Oaklawn has general/trauma surgery and orthopedic surgery available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Oaklawn also has 24-hour diagnostic services and highly credentialed providers who are board certified or board eligible in emergency medicine, general surgery and orthopedics,” Campbell said. “The Emergency Department’s nursing staff is required to be certified in trauma nursing within one year of hire.

“A surgeon and operating-room team must be able to be on site within 30 minutes of a high-level trauma activation, and our radiology department has demonstrated that it’s prepared to respond to any and all needs,” she said. “Oaklawn has been able to meet all of these criteria.”

In addition, local data are assessed to determine what types of injuries occur frequently in the community, Campbell said. That work is performed by Sarah Hughes, who serves as Oaklawn’s trauma registrar and injury prevention specialist.

“With that knowledge, the specialist can offer classes to provide education about such topics as fall prevention, proper bike-helmet use and car-seat safety through our Car Fit program,” Campbell said.

“I’m extremely proud of everyone at Oaklawn for working so hard to make this recognition possible,” Williams said. “It’s the result of a great deal of dedication, teamwork and talent, and we couldn’t have achieved it without the individual contribution of each person here.

“This recognition also carries a responsibility that I believe we’re extremely well equipped to handle,” she added. “Our patients and the communities we serve can rest assured that we will strive at all times to exceed their expectations.”



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CAPTION: The state of Michigan’s has designated Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall as a Level III Trauma Center, based primarily on criteria established by the American College of Surgeons. Oaklawn is the only hospital in Calhoun County to receive such a recognition