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St. Mary Trauma Center Marks 25 Years of Service to the Community
Reaccreditation represents a Significant Milestone for Bucks County

LANGHORNE, PA., October 1, 2012 – St. Mary Regional Trauma Center officially marks its 25th Anniversary of service to the community with its recent reaccreditation by the Pennsylvania Trauma System Foundation (PTSF). Effective for three years, the aggressive accreditation review ensures that optimum care is being provided for critically injured patients. St. Mary is the only accredited Trauma Center in Bucks County and one of only 30 accredited Trauma Centers in the commonwealth.

Trauma Centers must be continuously prepared 24/7 to treat the most serious life-threatening injuries. Specially trained healthcare experts, including surgeons board-certified in trauma and critical care, neurosurgeons, orthopedic and cardiac surgeons, radiologists and experienced trauma-trained nurses are part of the trauma team at St. Mary. Also available around the clock are access to the operating rooms, laboratory and diagnostic testing, and the blood bank and pharmacy services. While the appropriate treatment provided within Trauma Centers has been shown to reduce the likelihood of death or permanent disability to injured patients, the operation of a Trauma Center requires a tremendous commitment of resources.

“Obviously in trauma, time is of the essence for optimal patient outcomes, so having a quality trauma center locally accessible is such an important resource for the community. St. Mary also excels in having a wealth of trauma-trained specialty talent, especially in neurosurgery and orthopedics, ready and available to treat complex life-threatening injuries,” says Dr. Raymond Talucci, Trauma Medical Director, St. Mary Regional Trauma Center.

The Trauma Center also represents the strong commitment of St. Mary to serving the healthcare needs of our community. “As the Regional Trauma Center, St. Mary is uniquely qualified to treat the most critically injured in our community and this serves to broaden the measure and depth of our healing mission,” says Jeff Yarmel, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at St. Mary. “Trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident or a bad fall, happens unexpectedly and while a person cannot prepare for a trauma, people can appreciate that St. Mary is always prepared to provide the highest standards of advanced life-saving care.”

The role of the Trauma Center at St. Mary is to oversee the comprehensive range of services provided to trauma patients throughout their entire care and recovery. “Trauma care is a system that totally coordinates the multiple aspects of treatment and follow-up,” says Meg Ashton, RN, Trauma Program Manager at St. Mary. “We remain directly involved in the care as the patient progresses through the OR, ICU, step-down unit or rehabilitation. Our multidisciplinary approach also includes support from respiratory, dietary, Social Services, Spiritual Care and Home Health Care.”

St. Mary is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the community with a $22 million expansion and redesign of its Emergency Department and Trauma Center that is part of a larger capital expansion project totaling more than $70 million. When the expansion is completed, the Trauma Center will have brand new and specially equipped treatment areas to accommodate up to four patients and immediate access to an adjacent CT scan room and study results. Additional amenities include special ambulance bays that will expedient access to trauma and emergency treatment areas and offer accommodating set-ups for squads to recharge and clean equipment. Recent expansions that also benefit care provided by the Trauma Center include a new ICU with dedicated Neurosciences Care and new operating rooms and patient-care areas in Surgical Services.

As a premier healthcare provider, St. Mary is an active member in numerous regional healthcare Disaster Preparedness Task Forces and has emergency response protocols which prominently include Trauma Center capabilities to handle numerous injured patients in the event of a large-scale incident.

As a Trauma Center system, St. Mary works closely with area EMS squads in coordinating care as the patient is still in transport, and in providing continuing education for skills development. An annual Trauma Conference is sponsored by the St. Mary Trauma Center each year to provide continuing education for physicians, nurses, and pre-hospital care providers. This year’s event is scheduled for November 29 and is open to all regional providers involved in urgent care.

The St. Mary Trauma Center also has one of the most proactive trauma-prevention programs in the state. Its offerings include a fall-prevention program for seniors, Safe Kids programs that address car-seat safety, home, bike, playground and fire safety, poison prevention, and sports-injury prevention including the ImPACT concussion testing and education program for high school athletes.

In a national study published in 2010 in the Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care, it was found that even though trauma centers are more expensive, the benefits in terms of lives saved and quality of life-years gained outweigh the costs, particularly for the most severely injured patients.* Juliet Geiger, Executive Director for Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation, believes the benefits of a trauma center extend even further. “We have found that the emergent needs of running a Trauma Center serve as a ripple effect in increasing the quality of care delivered throughout the hospital. The protocols initiated in preparing to care for injured patients, enhanced technology, process improvement reviews, and the collection and use of data help to identify ideal outcome measures that can be used in the care provided to all.”

St. Mary is an Adult Level 2 Trauma Center and as it was first accredited in 1987 is among the longest operating Trauma Centers in the state as PTSF began accreditation status in 1986. St. Mary does provide the same level of advanced care as a Level 1 Trauma Center, but does not have a residency program and the associated research that defines a Level 1 Center. The St. Mary Regional Trauma Center treats more than 1500 patients annually.