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At Lutheran’s Level II Trauma Center, We’re Ready for Any Emergency

Story 3 1 Trauma care

Wheat Ridge, CO - We often associate trauma with catastrophe, such as major traffic accidents or assault. But traumatic injuries encompass the entire range of critical injuries that require immediate care. They may result from a slip of the knife on your cutting board, or a fall from your bike. Traumatic injuries can threaten your life and your health unless you are attended to with speed and skill.

With our Level II Trauma Center, Lutheran Medical Center is ready to treat any traumatic injury with immediate, comprehensive, coordinated care. This means access to:

A trauma surgery team that starts administering care immediately upon a critically injured patient’s arrival.

On 24/7 basis, multiple on-call, in-house physician specialists, including neurosurgeons, hand surgeons, maxillofacial specialists, orthopedic traumatologists (with expertise in treating complex pelvic fractures) and anesthesiologists.

Nurse coordinators, trauma case managers and social workers who monitor care throughout the hospital stay and connect patients with rehabilitation and follow-up services.

Advanced medical technologies for stabilizing and treating traumatic injuries. This includes high-tech CT scanning and interventional radiology.

Caring for a Growing Community

For years, Lutheran was a Level III Trauma Center, able to evaluate and stabilize trauma patients before transferring them to another hospital for advanced treatment.

“As our population boomed, we realized we had to grow beyond our origins as a community hospital,” says Christopher Zaw-Mon, MD, a general surgeon and Trauma Medical Director. “After years of expanding specialty services, including neurosurgery, cardiology, orthopedics and radiology, becoming a Level II Trauma Center was the natural next step.”

“Most of the traumatic injuries we treat result from falls (particularly in the elderly), motor vehicle accidents and recreational activities, such as biking, skiing and horseback riding,” says Julie Bridges, RN, Trauma Program Manager. “As a Level II Trauma Center, we now have the staffing, technology and procedures in place to diagnose, stabilize and treat everything from minor issues to the most complex and severe injuries and keep patients close to home.”

Achieving the Level II designation, which was granted in April, was a multistep process that involved applying to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, which conducted a comprehensive survey. Lutheran also enrolled in the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program (ACS TQIP), a national benchmarking program that allows the hospital to network with other trauma centers and stay up to date on best practices.

Injury Prevention and Outreach

A key part of Lutheran’s mission as a Level II Trauma Center is to educate the community on how to prevent injuries and respond effectively to emergencies.

“We partner with local organizations, including police and fire departments, to offer outreach programs to teach community members how to prevent and lower the risk of traumatic injuries and what to do if a trauma occurs,” says Jasmine Patriquin, RN, Trauma Outreach and Injury Prevention Coordinator. One such program is Stop the Bleed, which teaches participants how to manage life-threatening bleeding with direct pressure, tourniquets and other techniques.

Injury prevention programs include CarFit, designed to improve safety for older adult drivers; ThinkFirst, which focuses on preventing brain and spinal cord injuries; and Friends Don’t Let Friends Fall, a balance and reflex training program in which participants navigate obstacle courses and perform exercises under the supervision of occupational and physical therapists.

“Participants report feeling more confident, knowledgeable and competent after they complete our programs,” Patriquin says.

“We can host these programs on Lutheran’s campus or adapt them to clients’ needs and locations,” Patriquin says. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, we were able to transition to outdoor locations and virtual platforms. Once it’s safe to gather again, we look forward to developing more programs that improve our community’s preparedness and wellness.”

Learn More

Learn more about Lutheran’s Emergency and Trauma Services at scl.health/journal-emergency.

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.