University Hospital trauma center gets national Level I designation

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA —University Hospital announced Tuesday that its trauma center has been verified by the American College of Surgeons as a national Level I trauma center, the highest designation a hospital can receive.

Only one other hospital in Missouri, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, has received the same designation, said Matt Splett, MU Health Care spokesman.

"It kind of puts us in an elite company," he said.

The designation means the trauma center can handle the most serious of injuries at all times, said Stephen Barnes, associate professor and chief of the division of acute care surgery.

“In general, it means that we have all of the resources to care for any patient with any injury,” Barnes said. “We have all of the surgical sub-specialties available all the time.”

Trauma, which includes serious or critical bodily injuries that result from events such as car accidents and fires, is the No. 1 killer of Missourians ages 2 to 45, Barnes said.

Barnes said the verification could mean an increase in patient volume, as people are brought in from greater distances to receive care. The trauma center already treats about 1,500 patients each year from mid-Missouri and surrounding states such as Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The trauma center had previously been a state Level I trauma center.

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