Written by: Richard Jenkins
Southshore, 5450 Fort St., is Downriver’s first hospital to earn the designation. The next-closest trauma center is Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn, which has Level II certification. The closest Level I trauma centers are Detroit Receiving Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, all in Detroit.
Looking south, there are no trauma centers in Monroe County and three Level I centers in Toledo, Ohio. The next Level I centers to the west are the University of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children’s hospitals in Ann Arbor.
A Level II trauma center is similar to a Level I in that they both must have the resources to handle both the initial trauma and more in-depth procedures such as surgeries. However, Level I trauma centers have an additional research component.
According to Oakwood Healthcare System, patients with serious injuries require stabilization within an hour to improve their chances of survival.
“When you look at trauma care, time is of the essence,” said Kathy Kemp, Southshore trauma coordinator. One of the big differences between trauma center and nontrauma center hospitals is the amount of planning and preparing for trauma patients.
“(Trauma care) is a system approach to the care of the patient,” Kemp said. “Whether it’s operative or nonoperative, the process has been thought of.”
Kemp said that the response time of a surgeon in a nontrauma hospital can be as long as a few hours, compared to the 15-minute maximum response time at Southshore.
“If you aren’t a trauma center, those plans aren’t in place,” she said. “It’s not that they choose to give bad care, it’s that they just aren’t put in place.”
In addition to the state certification, trauma centers are subject to review by the American College of Surgeons.
Southshore has one of four emergency rooms Downriver. The others are at Oakwood Heritage Hospital in Taylor, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital’s Center for Health Services in Brownstown Township.