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Thursday, May 2, 2013

What is the Chicago Trauma Network?

The Chicago trauma network is an organized effort to deliver a full range of care to the injured that blossomed in the early 1960's with nine trauma centers located in Chicago. Trauma centers are classified into Levels I through IV based on resources that the centers contain. The criteria for each level follows:

Level I:
  1. 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons
  2. Availability of care ins pecialties such as orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, rediology, internal medicine and critical care
  3. Should also include cardiance, hand, pediatric and microvascular surgery and hemodialysis
  4. Provides leadership in prevention, public education, and continuing education of trauma team members
  5. Committed to continued improvement through a comprehensive quality assessment program and organized eresearch to help direct new innovations in trauma care
Level II:
  1. 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons
  2. Availability of orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care
  3. tertiary care needs such as cardiac surgery, hemodialysis, and microvascular surgery may be referred to a Level I trauma center
  4. Committed to trauma prevention and continuing education of trauma team members
  5. Provides continued improvement in trauma care through a comprehensive quality assessment program
Level III:
  1. 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists
  2. Program dedicated to continued improvement in trauma care through a comprehensive quality assessment program
  3. Has developed transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II trauma center
  4. Committed to continuing education of nursing and allied health personnel or the trauma team
  5. Must be involved with prevention and have an active otureach program for its referring communities
Level IV:
  1. Include basic emergency department facilities to implement ATLS protocols and 24'hour laboratory coverage
  2. Transfer to higher level trauma centers follows the guidelines outlined in formal transfer agreements
  3. committed to continued improvement of these trauma care activities through  formal quality assessment program
  4. Involved in prevention, outreach, and education within its community
Most Trauma Centers in the Chicago area are a Level I or a Level II. Yet it seems that if there were Level III and Level IV centers (who have the transfer agreements with the higher level centers), perhaps a different type of trauma network could be established which could lessen the burden that the current trauma centers such as Northwestern Memorial Hospital carry.

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