KDMC rated at Level 3 in emergencies

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2001

King’s Daughters Medical Center has been recognized as a LevelIII trauma care center by the Mississippi State Department ofHealth, hospital officials said.

The designation is part of a developing state Trauma Care Systemfor treating accident victims and others with serious injuries.KDMC is among 12 hospitals statewide and four in southwestMississippi to receive the certification.

The state system includes four levels of trauma care centerdesignations from Level I to Level IV. The University MedicalCenter in Jackson is the only Level I center, with the nearestLevel II hospital in Hattiesburg, said Phillip Grady, KDMC chiefexecutive officer.

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Grady said participating hospitals have transfer agreements thatallow a trauma victim to be sent to the most appropriate medicalfacility, regardless of whether or not it is the closest. He saidthe agreements are part of an effort to reduce “lag time” due totransfers between hospitals.

“The whole purpose … is to provide the very best trauma carethat we can,” Grady said.

Jane Jones, KDMC emergency room nurse supervisor, mentioned thefirst “golden hour” for providing care.

“You want to get the patient in, get him stabilized and initiatecare in that hour,” said Jones, adding that chances of recovery aregreatly improved and lives saved if hospital care can be started inthat time frame.

KDMC is part of the Southwest Trauma Care region, which includesseven hospitals. KDMC’s Dr. Wells Wilson is on the state traumacare advisory panel while Grady and Jones have leadership roles inthe area organization.

Other area Level III centers are Southwest Regional MedicalCenter in McComb, Natchez Regional Medical Center and NatchezCommunity Hospital.

“These hospitals receiving a Level III designation and theirmedical staffs have shown a true commitment to provide the level ofcare to trauma patients that they would desire for their ownfamily, to all patients, without exception,” said State HealthOfficer Dr. Ed Thompson in a statement announcing thedesignations.

Lawrence County, Franklin County and Field Memorial Hospitals inCentreville are in the process of seeking Level IV designation.

Grady and Jones said trauma care involves a coordinated effortbetween the emergency medical services staff, the emergency roomand surgeons. Grady was glad to get official notification of thehospital’s efforts to provide Level III care.

“We’ve been maintaining that level of care, and now we’verecognized for the level of care we’re providing,” Grady said.

Jones said KDMC has an all paramedic ambulance staff, and theemergency room staff continues to seek advanced certified training.She said the ambulance staff is an extension of the emergencyroom.

“They’re not just starting care. They’re starting quality care,”Jones said, while also mentioning the benefits of the county’sfirst responders.

A hospital benefit of the trauma care center designation isreimbursement for trauma care in cases where a patient is unable topay. Grady said seed money for the trauma care fund was provided bythe settlement from the state’s lawsuit against tobaccoindustries.

With major highways near the city and the potential for seriousaccidents, Grady said it is important to have a trauma care systemin place.

“In this part of the state, it is key to have this,” Grady said.”We think it’s critical in getting patients the most appropriateaccess to care.”