Southern Illinois' first trauma center to go live Monday - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois' first trauma center to go live Monday

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Memorial Hospital of Carbondale will become the first hospital in southern Illinois to be designated as a trauma center.

In a release, SIH announced the hospital's Level II trauma center designation will go live at 7 a.m. Monday, November 4, a  result that stems from five years of hard work and meticulous planning behind the scenes.

There are two levels of trauma centers in Illinois. Level II centers handle the second-most severe level of injuries. Level II trauma patients experience injuries that doctors can definitively treat, such as trauma sustained in an assault, a fall, or a crash. 

The hospital held its final practice drill Friday to demonstrate the carefully orchestrated process of transporting patients and getting them immediate treatment.

The trauma program's medical director Dr. Eduardo Smith-Singares says the new designation will allow victims to be treated within the 'golden hour.' The term refers to the time from the patient's initial injury to the time the patient is treated.

Prior to the designation, Dr. Smith-Singares says the closest trauma centers were located in St. Louis and Evansville, 40 minutes away by helicopter. He adds that treating the patient within that critical time frame can make the difference between life and death.

"Forty minutes is already two-thirds of the 'golden hour.' If the EMS crew is not at the site of the accident within the first 10 minutes, the patient will be late," Dr. Smith-Singares said. "The first 'golden hour' of outcomes will be missed, and these outcomes will not be as good."

The hospital has already treated trauma patients within the last seven months. Between April and September, the facility treated 328 patients.

Jackson County Ambulance Service Director Kenton Schafer says the designation will save families the trouble of driving two hours to check on their loved ones and keep them closer together.

"Not only do you have the anxiety and trauma of the actual accident and trying to deal with that, but they're 100 miles away from you."

Dr. Smith-Singares is confident about how the final drill played out and will measure the results in the coming days to see which areas need improvement.

"The overall goal was to prove that we can take care of multiple victims at the same time," Dr. Smith-Singares said.

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