Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen Saving Lives through Trauma Center Access

Jan 8, 2019

Only Level II Trauma Center in Rio Grande Valley

Rio Grande Valley – Since its 2018 announcement on becoming the first and only designated Level II Trauma Center in the Rio Grande Valley, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen has been saving the lives of patients with traumatic injuries and providing the trauma care needed close to home.

VBMC-Harlingen Trauma Center“A Level II Trauma Center, provides patients who have suffered a traumatic injury access to the most comprehensive level of care,” said Dr. Hillary Chollet, MD, FACS, Trauma Medical Director for Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen. “We are able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients 24/7.”

Having Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen as a designated Level II Trauma Center means that we have a number of resources immediately available in our community that benefit trauma patients, including in-house trauma/critical care surgeons available 24/7, and a full team of ICU specialists, orthopedics, neurosurgery, radiology, emergency medicine and others . Currently, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen is the only designated Trauma Level II hospital in the Rio Grande Valley with the capabilities to treat such traumatic injuries.

“Our Level II Trauma designation was a multi-year journey to ensure our patients of the Rio Grande Valley have access to the high-level of care they need close to home,” said Manny Vela, Chief Executive Officer for Valley Baptist Health System. “We are committed to continually enhance and advance the level of care we provide our community and are proud to be the first and only hospital in the Rio Grande Valley to achieve this designation. That said, we remain committed to continually enhancing the necessary trauma services available to our community.”

Level I and Level II Trauma Centers are equipped and staffed to provide 24-hour care for patients with life-threatening injuries. According to the American College of Surgeons, the officially entity that grants a hospital’s Trauma Level designation, the main difference between a Level I and Level II Trauma Center is that a Level I Trauma Center meets the strict requirement related to establishing a teaching and research effort to help direct innovations in trauma care.

“At Valley Baptist-Harlingen we treat all levels of traumatic injuries from stab wounds, gunshot wounds, to traumatic automobile accident injuries,” said Dr. Chollet. “As a Level II Trauma Center we are already providing the same level of care as you would receive at a Level I Trauma Center. Since receiving our designation in 2017, the number of patients that have had to leave the Valley for additional care has been minimal, because we now have the dedicated team of physicians and providers to render that care here. Only in extenuating circumstances do patients need to be sent to a specialty facility out of town, which those cases can include severe burns or limb replantation.”

Faster transportation time to a trauma center saves lives. Valley Baptist-Harlingen works closely with ground and air emergency medical services EMS, to ensure definitive care is provided as quickly as possible to save the maximum number of lives.

”Our community deserves to have these resources immediately available in the event of a major emergency and should never have the additional worry of having to leave the Valley for a higher level of care” said Vela.

Since Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen’s designation as a Level II Trauma Center, the hospital has cared for over 2,000 significant traumatic injuries and less than 5% of these injuries required transportation out of the Valley to a major metropolitan medical center.

“During a trauma emergency, having a comprehensive team in place is critical for the best chance of survival for patients with life-threatening injuries,” said Dr. Chollet.

In addition to being the only Level II trauma center, Valley Baptist-Harlingen is proud to be the only Comprehensive Level I Stroke Center in the Rio Grande Valley, be recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals 2018-2019 Best Hospitals rankings and to have just been designated a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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