Estes Park Health Level IV Trauma Center

The State of Colorado re-certified Estes Park Health as a Level IV Trauma Center , marking the 19th year of certification. “We met all their criteria without reservation,” said Scott Chew, MD, Chief of Trauma Services.

In 2017, visits to the Estes Park Health Emergency Department numbered 6,011. Of those, there were 160 serious trauma cases and 44 were life-threatening traumas that required Trauma Team activations.

Being a designated trauma center is a choice

Level IV certification reflects Estes Park Health’s commitment to providing the highest levels of care. “In Colorado, it’s not required to be a trauma center,” said Tim Gray, RN, Trauma Nurse Coordinator. “Being designated a trauma center is a voluntary choice the hospital makes. The decision to seek certification is made by the Administration and the Chief of Trauma Services who commit to all the education, requirements and equipment that we have to maintain.”

The golden hour of trauma

Estes Park Health accepts patients during the “golden hour of trauma.” According to Dr. Chew, this is the small window of time after a major traumatic injury when lives are threatened and there’s an opportunity to intervene and save lives.

“Our goal is to provide the initial stabilization and resucitation, transfuse blood, stop ongoing bleeding, protect airways and get them to the service they need for the final lifesaving measures,” Dr. Chew said.

Trauma Team Activation

The Trauma Team is activated when EMS notifies them that a patient or even multiple patients with serious traumatic injury are on their way. In just five minutes, the Trauma Team is ready to accept the patient(s).

“When a trauma patient arrives here, the Trauma Team is at the ambulance bay doors ready to help the patient,” Dr. Chew said.  “We’ll have extra trauma-trained nurses, emergency physicians, laboratory services, blood bank services and diagnostic imaging all to accept that patient as we rush them into the Emergency Department. For life-threatening injuries that we anticipate the need to transfer, we’ll already have a helicopter on route to the hospital to move them to a larger trauma center after we’ve stabilized them.”

There is no typical trauma patient Gray said. “We get the full range of ages, the full range of injuries. There are some unique things in Estes Park such as ski accidents, rock climbing, hiking and even elk-related injuries where people either crash into an elk, or get too close to the elk and actually get stomped on or gored.”

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