A passion for taking care of patients and the development of a seamless system of care that stretches from the battlefield in Iraq to Germany was highlighted Oct. 17 during a ceremony in which the American College of Surgeons presented its Level II Trauma Center verification to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
“The verification, consisting of compliance with 215 criterion focused on immediate and comprehensive care following trauma incidents geared specifically to support servicemembers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, is a compliment to the hospital staff and its patients,”said Col. (Dr.) Stephen Flaherty, chief of surgery and the Trauma Center director.
Specifically, the trauma center verification includes requirements such as having board-certified surgeons, anesthesia services available 24/7, operating rooms meeting prescribed standards for equipment and staffing, and a continuing education program. For LRMC, it has meant the addition of critical care services and dialysis treatment.
Treatment often begins within minutes of a Soldier getting injured in combat.
He or she may be treated first by a medic and shortly afterward at a forward surgical unit.
A day later, many make the six-hour flight to Germany where they receive the next level of care and are stabilized at LRMC before flying stateside. The continuum of care includes video teleconferencing among medical staff downrange, LRMC and stateside; CAT scans pushed forward from combat support hospitals downrange; and in-flight communication concerning patient updates from aeromedical doctors and nurses to the staff at LRMC.
It has been a long and extensive journey that has required a tremendous commitment from the entire LRMC staff.
Unlike a civilian stateside trauma center that may focus on the needs of a particular region, LRMC is part of a trauma network that stretches from Iraq and Afghanistan to stateside hospitals such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington; Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas; and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.