March 17, 2015
Portsmouth Regional Hospital has been designated a Level II Trauma Center by the State of New Hampshire’s Trauma Medical Review Committee. Portsmouth Regional Hospital is the only Level II trauma center on the Seacoast and one of only three in New Hampshire to earn this important distinction.
“This achievement is a reflection of our commitment to providing better services with timely and improved access to life-saving measures for patients in need of trauma care,” said Jennifer Weymouth, DO, Trauma Medical Director. “We are equipped to reach a higher level of capabilities and we will continue to reach for our ultimate goal of saving lives. With the new helipad, renovated trauma rooms and addition of specialists to our medical staff, we uphold that we are devoted to providing the best care for patients during a critical time.”
A trauma center is not the same as an emergency room. Emergency rooms treat ill and injured people while trauma centers handle the most severely injured patients. Traumatic injuries can happen many ways from accidents to gunshot wounds to major disasters like a railway explosion or the Boston Marathon bombings. To be classified as a trauma center, a hospital must meet rigorous standards. It must have sophisticated emergency and operating room facilities and specialized staff ready to provide care at any moment. This staff includes: trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, open heart surgeons, anesthesia and critical care specialists.
Weather and traffic considerations in the region make local access to trauma care critical to saving more lives. Harsh winters are a hallmark of the area and recent years are no exception. Traffic in the summer swells along with the population. Regardless of the time of year, traffic on major roadways---is heavy. Portsmouth Regional Hospital’s trauma center is at the hub of major Seacoast highways; close to the airport at Pease; and near the port of Portsmouth. As a Level II trauma center, Portsmouth Regional Hospital is better equipped than ever to serve the Seacoast region.
New Hampshire Defines Trauma Levels:
Level I: A hospital satisfying this level provides the highest level of care for patients with complex traumatic injuries that present directly to the hospital's emergency department or by inter-facility transfer. The hospital is a regional resource that treats a significant number of seriously injured patients and is responsible for outreach, accredited education and is committed to research in trauma management.
Level II: A hospital that has the resources to provide a high level of care for patients with complex injuries. The hospital has essentially all the surgical specialty providers as a Level I, on-call and promptly available 24/7. A Level II provides definitive care on a regional basis for complex trauma patients, but may transfer very specialized trauma patients to a Level I or specialty facility (e.g. burn center).
Level III: A hospital that provides trauma care for a local catchment area. Some Level III trauma hospitals are able to care for trauma patients, but the expectation of most Level III facilities for major trauma patients is stabilization and prompt transfer to a Level I or Level II trauma hospital.
Level IV: A hospital that provides 24-hour emergency services. This level of trauma hospital is expected to resuscitate, stabilize, and transfer major trauma patients to a higher level facility. This facility will admit only those patients who are determined to have injuries that do not meet criteria for transfer.
Unassigned Hospital: A hospital that provides a 24-hour emergency department but has not voluntarily sought assessment or assignment as part of the NH Trauma System or has not successfully received approval following an application.