MEDFORD, Ore. — People in the Rogue Valley with serious injuries will no longer be airlifted to Portland. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center is now a Level 2 trauma center, the only one in Southern Oregon.
The hospital says it expects this to help increase care to its patients.
Hospital Trauma "Level" Designations (in short):
- Level I - Provides the highest level of comprehensive care for severely injured adults and pediatric patients with complex, multi-system trauma. This is the regional resource trauma center and can provide total patient care for every aspect of injury, from prevention through rehabilitation.
- Level II - Similar to Level I, with the ability to provide care for severely injured individuals with complex trauma. Has a broad range of specialists available and comprehensive diagnostic capabilities.
- Level III - Provides initial evaluation and stabilization, including surgical intervention. Can provide comprehensive inpatient services to patients who can be maintained in a stable or improving condition. Critically injured patients are transferred to a higher level hospital.
- Level IV - Provides resuscitation and stabilization of the severely injured, before transfer to a higher level hospital. This may include some surgical intervention. Trained nursing personnel are available to perform life-saving maneuvers.
Serena Neve, who lives in Grants Pass, knows firsthand the pain from having a family member air-lifted to a hospital hours away. A dog attacked her son, Jeremiah, earlier this winter. His face, scalp, and neck received serious injuries.
"The top part of his scalp is ripped off," Neve said. "It definitely would've made it a lot easier on our family to not be separated."
To become a Level 2 trauma center, Asante had to fulfill certain requirements, such as have a surgeon and anesthesiologist on-call 24 hours a day. They must also have a neurosurgeon and trauma-trained nursing staff readily available at all hours.
The hospital had to spend a significant amount to upgrade, according to Jackie DeSilva, the trauma coordinator. But it came out of the hospital's own budget.
"I don't know the exact price point but there definitely was a surge in money they had to be put forward," said DeSilva. "We decided that it was worth it to be able to take care of her community, and to do what we need to do for people in our area."
DeSilva says it's been operating at a Level 2 standard for several years, to prove that it was capable. The state officially gave it the Level 2 status in December.
Providence Medford Medical Center is currently a Level 3 hospital. "Providence provides excellent emergency care, and we have successfully completed our Level 3 re-certification. We continue to work together with other health care providers to support the needs of the communities we serve," said Maria Calloway, Providence Chief Nursing Officer.
According to the American Trauma Society, the primary distinction between Level 1 hospitals (like the Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland) and Level 2 hospitals is one of education. Level 1 hospitals provide continuing education and research programs for medical practitioners.
If you want to help Jeremiah's family with medical costs, visit their GoFundMe.
Map Credit: Oregon Health Authority (the interactive map of hospitals can be found here)