Good Samaritan Awaiting Visit in May to Become a Verified Level III Trauma Center

May is National Trauma Awareness Month and Good Samaritan has reason to celebrate with their successful trauma program. In 2013, Good Samaritan Emergency Room nurses began their journey to establish a cooperative trauma system. Realizing there was a need for trauma care in this region, Good Samaritan began the process to become the first Level III trauma center south of Indianapolis.

Good Samaritan is located in what Dr. Timothy Pohlman, Trauma Surgeon from IU Health-Methodist, called the “Triangle of Death.” Previously, the travel time required to reach a trauma center was greater than the one-hour window of time for best patient outcome immediately following an accident. Having a Level III trauma center at Good Samaritan means that patients who are severely injured have quick access to specialized physicians, nurses, resources and equipment.

At this time, Good Samaritan is “In the Process” of becoming a verified trauma center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), which allows Good Samaritan to receive the patients necessary to show a record of excellent trauma care required for the ACS verification process. As a Level III trauma Center, Good Samaritan must have:

  • 24-hour immediate coverage by ER physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists.
  • A comprehensive quality assessment program.
  • Transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II Trauma Center.
  • Back-up care for rural and community hospitals.
  • Continued education of the trauma team.
  • Be involved with prevention efforts and have active outreach programs.

"Prior to the commitment of Good Samaritan to become a trauma center, injured patients were likely to be sent to Evansville or Indianapolis for care, often incurring costly emergency transportation expenses," said Vicki Potts, RN, MSN, CEN, Director of Acute Care. "Our surgeons and physicians have really embraced the concept of our trauma center, and have worked together to enhance the quality of trauma care to our surrounding communities. We have progressed to taking care of more injured patients right here in our hospital, keeping patients and their families close to home.”

Out of the 763 trauma patients seen in the last 12 months, most incidents have been the result of falls, followed by motor vehicle accidents. “Our retention rate has been 88-90% of all trauma patients,” stated Mary Pargin, MSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, Trauma Nurse Coordinator. “This means that these patients have received all of their patient care at Good Samaritan, without having to be sent to another facility. We are keeping more and more patients all the time and are working within the state and regional trauma system to guide care based on the needs of our community.”

Coordination with other departments within the hospital and local authorities and EMT services throughout the region has been a huge part of the success of Good Samaritan’s Trauma Department. “We are very fortunate to work with other departments and local emergency personnel who understand the importance of trauma services,” said Karen Haak, Chief Nursing Officer. “Because we are able to work together, patients are able to either be seen by Good Samaritan’s trauma team or sent to higher level of care hospitals faster for treatment, which ultimately saves more lives.”

Good Samaritan will have their evaluation process performed by the American College of Surgeons to be verified as a Level III trauma center this May. The state or local municipality identifies unique criteria in which to categorize trauma centers. These categories may vary from state to state and are typically outlined through legislative or regulatory authority.

“Becoming an ACS verified trauma center demonstrates Good Samaritan’s commitment to our community,” stated Dr. David Purdom, Board Certified Surgeon and Trauma Medical Director at Good Samaritan. “This program raises the bar in improving quality of care at Good Samaritan, ensuring that our hospital departments maintain the highest possible standards in the coordination and delivery of trauma care.”

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