Natividad Medical Center designated as level two trauma center

  • January 6, 2015

By Brynne Whittaker, KSBW

SALINAS, Calif. — Jan 6, 2015 – After several years of work, Natividad Medical Center has been approved as Monterey County’s first level two trauma center.

"Today is the culmination of several years of work," Natividad’s Chief Medical Officer Gary Gray said. "A very robust external review process and we are ready to provide the level two trauma care to the citizens of Monterey County."

After three independent reviews, Natividad Medical Center passed the test and earned the designation.

The facility had to make some changes to get the title. It added 69 staff members solely devoted to trauma, new imaging equipment and a 24/7 surgery team.

"We always have a trauma surgeon available in 15 minutes," Gray said. "We always have an operating room crew ready to go, in-house, that includes an anesthesiologist, so really it’s taking services that a lot of hospitals already provide, but bringing in special training, special services and providing those services 24/7 at a moment’s notice, and that’s the difference."

Hospital staff said the facility will save lives.

"It’s a good service for the community in general," trauma nurse Scott Weyland said. "It’s a fair amount of trauma that happens here, not only with knives and guns and assault, but car crashes and farm injuries and industrial accidents. It’s good for those people to be taken care of locally and have access to the care quickly."

Some wondered whether this would increase helicopter traffic and noise in the area, but hospital officials said it will not. Most of the patients will be transported by ambulance.

 "What will be different is when helicopters land here, we will be receiving the patients instead of then having the patients going out," Gray said.

The trauma center has been up and running since October and has seen nearly 200 trauma patients.