Level III Trauma Designation Renewed at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka

April 8, 2021 Providence News Team

Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka’s Level III Trauma Program Receives Designation Renewal

North Coast EMS Issuance Ensures Hospital has the Highest Level of Trauma Care Available in Humboldt County

Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka recently received designation renewal for its Level III Trauma Center. The renewal, issued by North Coast Emergency Medical Services, is good for another three years, ensuring our community will receive the highest quality of care for trauma services. EMS uses designations when determining where to transport patients when minutes count, by differentiating the depth and breadth of services being provided at St Joseph Hospital from the Level IV hospital or non-designated hospitals in our community.

The trauma program is led by Kari Vandiver, BSN, RN, trauma coordinator, Dr. Lisa Neuger, medical director, and a robust ensemble of highly experienced trauma surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, emergency department staff, hospitalists, intensivists and critical care nurses, whose work is supported by physical/occupation therapists, and laboratory staff, along with Blood Bank and imaging department caregivers.

“While Level III Trauma programs are expected to have general and orthopedic surgeons available 24/7, our additional availability of a neurosurgeon 24/7 provides our communities with a higher level of care for head injuries and spinal trauma. It is rare for a rural community to have access to such advanced trauma services.” said Dr. Roberta Luskin-Hawk, chief executive for Providence in Humboldt County.

A Level III Trauma Center provides prompt assessment, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care, and stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations. Adding to the depth of clinical experience in the St. Joseph Hospital program, Dr. Tuan Hoang, a highly trained and experienced trauma surgeon, joined the team in late 2020.

“Last year, the trauma program cared for approximately 680 injured patients,” said Vandiver. “More than half of those patients were treated as a result of the trauma team being activated upon the patient’s arrival at St. Joseph Hospital, highlighting the quick response and coordination of the program.”

In the first half of life, more Americans die from injuries and violence — such as motor vehicle crashes, suicide, or homicides — than from any other cause, including cancer, HIV, or the flu. This makes injury the leading cause of death among persons aged 1-44*. The leading cause of injury in our community is blunt trauma (including falls, motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian/bicycle accidents, etc.). With the next closest higher level of trauma center over three hours away, the importance of St. Joseph’s program in Humboldt County is often a matter of life and death.

The program was originally designated as a Level III program in 2017.

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