New State-of-the-Art Trauma Center Ready 24/7

New State of the Art Trauma CenterThe helicopter transporting the trauma victim touches down on the hospital roof.A team of doctors and nurses rush to assess the victim’s injuries the moment the helicopter lands.

The victim is then whisked by elevator down four floors directly into the trauma unit.An operating room right in the trauma center stands ready and waiting.

Sounds like a scene from a prime-time medical drama?It’s the new reality at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, as the hospital unveiled its new trauma rooms and bays in Summer 2009.

Jersey Shore offers the area’s only Level II Trauma Center, caring for more than 1.8 million people in the Monmouth and Ocean counties.Last year the center handled 1,265 trauma patients.The caseload has been growing steadily by about 100 cases a year, according to Ryn Fernandez, trauma program manager.

“The trauma unit has to be ready at a moment’s notice to cope with any disaster,” Fernandez said.That sentiment was echoed by trauma ICU nurse supervisor Denise Swan: “We will have a team, 24/7, that is waiting on the patients.Their only job is to wait for patients to come to them.”

Jersey Shore has been a trauma center since 1990.Trauma centers are specially equipped and organized hospitals, specializing in caring for seriously injured patients.Trauma center care guarantees the immediate availability of specialized personnel, equipment, and capabilities 24 hours a day.These centers work closely with each other and with local community hospitals to assure the best possible appropriate trauma care.Level II trauma centers are expected to provide definitive trauma care, regardless of the severity of the injury.

“We are already one of the top trauma units in the state.This new unit will only help to make our department more efficient,” said Swan.Some 35 percent of trauma patients end up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

With Jersey Shore’s new expansion, the trauma center now has its facilities located in the new Northwest Pavilion.Four beds in the emergency department are dedicated for trauma patients, and more of the emergency rooms 60 beds can be used by the trauma team if needed.

“The new unit will be much more efficient,” said Felix Garcia, M.D., director of the trauma center.“We have a CAT-scan just steps away – before we had to take the patients to another floor.We will now be able to take advantage of this state-of-the-art equipment at our fingertips.”

Trauma team members are also excited about the new STAT SCAN, a machine that can do dozens of very quick, precise radiography scans of patients and their injuries.The scans will be able to be viewed on any computer in the unit.

The biggest change for the unit involves the helipad and the ambulance bays, Fernandez said.The unit is now configured so that elevators go straight up to the rooftop helipad – patients can be brought straight down to the trauma unit.Patients once were shuttled from the helipad to the unit via ambulance.And the unit is now much closer to the ambulance bays themselves.

While other hospitals experience summer as a down time, that season is Jersey Shore’s busiest, especially at the emergency room and trauma center, as staff face transportation crashes, recreational accidents, and a summer population surge.

Fernandez stressed the importance of community awareness of the trauma unit.“Even though we have the feel of a community hospital, we provide state-of-the-art resources to deal with any and all traumatic injuries,” she said.

Even in this economy, when resources are limited, “you have to make sure the trauma center is ready 24/7.You have to be ready every single day,” Dr. Garcia said.