SALEM, AR (KAIT) - The Fulton County Hospital in Salem has earned a level 4 trauma designation, and the hospital obtained $67,000 to work toward that goal which has taken nearly 2 years.
This level 4 trauma designation is important considering the location of the hospital and the area it serves.
Hospital Trauma Director Dr. Jeff Summerhill says the upgrade meant additional trauma care training for all doctors and nursing staff, and new equipment was added to both the hospital and ambulances.
Overall, the updates mean better coordination between Fulton county and other larger trauma centers.
"In the past if someone came into this facility with say a closed head injury then I might spend 20 - 30 minutes on the phone trying to find a hospital that had a Neurosurgeon." says Dr. Summerhill. "All we have to do now is call into a trauma center and they use their real-time data base to find us the specialist we need. " It's like call ahead seating at a popular restaurant only it saves lives.
Millie Allan, a Paramedic with the hospitals ambulance service showed me their new AWIN radios. These allow an ambulance to contact trauma centers directly.
"We have a golden hour in trauma and in that hour we want to get that patient to the best possible facility to get the best treatment." Allan said.
Fulton County primarily will stabilize those with serious injuries or illnesses. The critical care hospital has 25 beds but uses helicopters and ambulances to move critical patients since they do not have surgeons on staff.
The hospital obtained about 67 Thousand to upgrade and the EMS department received 26 Thousand. EMS Director Tim Hodges said keeping good people on the street is a key to victim survival.
"Out of the 26 Thousand about 8 Thousand went toward education. We send our staff to the EMT conference every year to keep up with the latest in trauma care. But if you don't have the equipment and additional training, they basically go hand in hand. You have to have the training, the equipment and the quality EMT and Paramedics and we do have that here."
Trauma coordinator Tammy Friel says the new trauma plan means timesaving protocols in the E. R. "We listen on the radio to EMS and we activate our trauma team. They come to the ER and they're already ready for the patient whey they arrive at our door."
Overall, for the people that this hospital serves, what does this designation mean?
Dr. Summerhill, "The people in this small community have access to the very latest and best in emergency medical care."