Trauma program is busier, more trusted than ever

Several key contributors to the trauma program at SSM St. Joseph Health Center are (from left): Mike Myers (Fire Chief, St. Charles Fire Department), Doug Barton, MD (Vice President of Medical Affairs), Karen Kemper (Trauma Coordinator), Jessica Bauer (Vice President of Operations), David McCollister, MD (Trauma Surgeon), Marlee Doyle (Emergency Department Team Leader), David Cass (EMS Liaison), Anitra Galmore (Vice President of Nursing) and Mindy Manley (Executive Director of Surgical Services).

Several key contributors to the trauma program at SSM St. Joseph Health Center are (from left): Mike Myers (Fire Chief, St. Charles Fire Department), Doug Barton, MD (Vice President of Medical Affairs), Karen Kemper (Trauma Coordinator), Jessica Bauer (Vice President of Operations), David McCollister, MD (Trauma Surgeon), Marlee Doyle (Emergency Department Team Leader), David Cass (EMS Liaison), Anitra Galmore (Vice President of Nursing) and Mindy Manley (Executive Director of Surgical Services).

2014 was a record-setting year for the trauma program at SSM St. Joseph Health Center.

For the first time over the course of a calendar year, St. Joseph Health Center treated more than 1,000 trauma patients, a benchmark that indicates how trusted the trauma program has become over the years.

In 2011, an $8.4 million renovation tripled the size of the emergency department and transformed it into the largest ED in St. Charles County. A key feature of the renovation was the construction of four dedicated trauma bays, allowing the trauma program to morph into what it is today. In total, 1,148 trauma patients were seen in 2014, averaging out to more than three cases per day.

With its close proximity to Hwy. 70 and the Blanchette Bridge – one of the most heavily travelled bridges in Missouri – having a facility equipped to treat this class of injury yields enormous health benefits to St. Charles and the surrounding communities, extending as far as Warren, Lincoln and Pike counties.

Traumas are not your average emergency department cases. They are serious, often life-threatening injuries that require swift action and impeccable judgment on the part of many to ensure positive outcomes for accident victims and victims of violence.

Like any successful medical program, it truly takes a village to reach and maintain this high level of care. Nearly every department at St. Joseph Health Center contributes to the trauma program in some fashion.

Our physicians and medical staff have forged close relationships with one another, enabling sound communication between the emergency surgeons and other specialists trained to treat complex injuries related to neurology, orthopedics and cardiology. St. Joseph Health Center’s commitment to recruiting exceptional physicians of various medical practices has greatly impacted the capabilities of the trauma program.

The full scope of trauma treatment extends to quality supplemental care administered by nurses and technicians. Laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and physical therapy all play key roles in the treatment and follow-up care of trauma patients.

In addition to a skilled medical staff and close collaboration between hospital departments, treatment begins with our local ambulance districts and EMS crews at the scene. These specialized, highly trained medical personnel lay the groundwork for emergency response and recovery by stabilizing victims and prepping them to receive advanced treatment from the hospital’s trauma team.

Even just five years ago, patients in need of high-level trauma care would often bypass St. Joseph Health Center in favor of better equipped facilities near the City of St. Louis. Today, area EMS crews route victims to St. Joseph Health Center with confidence that its trauma program can handle cases of almost every level of severity.

The state of Missouri certifies the St. Joseph Health Center trauma program’s Level II designation and reviews the program in detail every five years. It is the only Level II trauma program in St. Charles County. The accreditation also requires continued educational opportunities for staff, as well as a comprehensive quality assessment program.

“There isn’t a department in the entire hospital that our trauma program doesn’t touch,” said Karen Kemper, trauma coordinator at St. Joseph Health Center. “We couldn’t do what we do if not for the cooperation of our EMS partners and the support of our hospital administration, who provide us with the tools, resources and technology needed to have a comprehensive trauma program capable of achieving a high level of care.”

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