Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla was verified as a Level 1 trauma center, the highest designation awarded by the American College of Surgeons to indicate the highest range of injury care available to patients, it was announced Thursday.
Scripps Memorial La Jolla joins two other Level 1 adult trauma centers in San Diego County -- Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and UC San Diego Medical Center.
"Several years ago, Scripps made a commitment to elevate this trauma center to the highest level possible while significantly increasing the amount of academic medical education," Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder said in a statement. "Physician medical education has long been a core part of our health care mission, and now we offer trauma center physician training in addition to trauma research at two of our hospitals, Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego and now Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla -- the only health system in San Diego County with two Level 1 trauma centers."
Contributing to the verification was the hospital's development of a collaborative research program, establishment of an academic training program for surgical residents from the Naval Medical Center San Diego and expansion of education programs for other health-care providers.
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"Level 1 verification for the trauma center at Scripps La Jolla will benefit all of the patients we treat each year, whether they suffer a traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, broken bones or a gunshot wound," said Dr. Walter Biffl, Scripps La Jolla trauma medical director. "While we still provide the entire spectrum of trauma care, the addition of trauma research and resident training has ensured that all of our trauma team members stay focused on the latest developments in trauma care.
"Our research studies are based on the patients and injuries seen in our community, improving their care locally and sharing our findings with trauma providers worldwide," he said. "We are committed to keeping Scripps La Jolla at the forefront of trauma care for years to come. At the same time, our community education efforts are helping people prevent traumatic injuries by avoiding things like falls, cycling accidents and car crashes."
Surveyors from the ACS who evaluated the hospital pinpointed strengths including: "innovative clinical care guidelines, rapid and high-quality care of the most critical trauma patients and outstanding collaboration with prehospital EMS providers and the San Diego County trauma system," according to the hospital.
The surveyors noted that the center had no adult patient transfers to other facilities over the past year because all the needed care was available on site.