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Trauma Center

When accidents happen, seconds count...

The Trauma Center at Lowell General Hospital reduces time to treatment

It is the phone call everyone fears, a somber voice on the other end with the dreaded words "there has been an accident." Car accidents, fires, accidental work injuries, bicycle crashes - all are life-threatening traumas that can strike any family, at any place, at any time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), trauma is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 to 44. Trauma, or unintentional injury, results in over 150,000 deaths annually, and three times as many disabling injuries.

Reducing time to treatment is critical, and arriving sooner to a qualified center that has advanced care and immediate intervention can make a life-or-death difference. The Greater Lowell community now has access to trauma care, as Lowell General has been designated by the state of Massachusetts as a Level III Trauma Center and verified by the American College of Surgeons' Committee on Trauma. This achievement underscores the dedication of the hospital to ensure faster access to advanced care and immediate intervention for life-threatening events.

Trauma systems make sure that patients have fast access to specialized resources and equipment, and verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance. Over the past several years, preparations have included securing around the clock access to a team of surgeons, developing specialized trauma-related protocols, educating staff, and employing a trauma nurse coordinator dedicated to trauma initiatives.

"In Massachusetts, we (Region 3) are the only region with Level III trauma centers as community-based centers," says Vanessa Barrett, RN, CEN, Trauma Program Coordinator. "It makes a difference for severely injured patients who are sometimes unstable and/or cannot endure longer travel times and need immediate stabilization. If a patient has multiple critical injuries or severe burns, they may require treatment at an advanced trauma center. With our Level III designation, we have the resources and systems in place to initially stabilize the patient and then expeditiously transfer out to a Level I trauma center for further definitive care."

For patients and families, Lowell General's enhanced level of care allows more trauma victims to stay close to home. For some cases, hospitalization can last several weeks, which can be a huge burden on families, especially those with children. For parents, the hardship of having to stay out of town, find alternative care for other children, and taking extended periods of time off of work adds more stress to a difficult situation. Level III Trauma verification at Lowell General has brought a new realm of emergency care services to the region, ready to help your loved ones when seconds count. 

Click here to read one patient's Testimonial: Rachel Carnes

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