Tri-County Area Gets A New Trauma Center

  • December 9, 2014

Natividad Medical Center Named Level II Trauma Center 


SALINAS, CALIF. — December 9,  2014 — In a move that will change the way emergency patients are transported in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties, Natividad Medical Center has met the final requirements in being named a level II trauma center, and will receive the official designation in January.

Monterey County Emergency Medical Services Director Kirk Schmitt said the new trauma center will fill the “black hole” where no such facility previously existed between Santa Barbara and
San Jose.

“It’s a wonderful thing for the citizens,” he said. “It brings high-level care closer to them.”
Emergency workers say the center will allow critically injured people to be transported by ground ambulance instead of helicopter, saving them from a bill that can start at $10,000.

It can also mean that bad weather making helicopter travel impossible won’t mean a long transportation time to a trauma center. Currently, most patients are flown by air ambulance to out-of-area centers.
Such speed can be critical—emergency professionals say getting injured patients to care within an hour can drastically improve their chances of survival.

Among other things, a level II trauma center provides round-the-clock care by general surgeons, in addition to orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.

The center features two suites fully stocked with all the supplies and equipment the trauma team needs during emergencies, and separate radiology rooms that stand ready to accept patients. It will deal with nearly all manner of trauma.