Sanford Medical Center Gets Verification as Level One Trauma Hospital

They recieved it from the American College of Surgeons

FARGO N.D. — It’s the first of its kind for Sanford and North Dakota.

Ten years ago, Sanford talked about bringing a Level One Trauma Center to Fargo and now they can finally say they’ve achieved their goal.

Time is of the essence when trying to save a trauma patient’s life.

“That has a long term impact on either their survival or level of disability they have to live with for the rest of their lives, so if you can cut several hours of a transfer by taking care of the patient in–state for the most severe injuries, you’re going to have better outcomes,” said Steven Briggs, Sanford Trauma medical director.

Now that the American College of Surgeons has verified Sanford’s Medical Center as a Level One Adult Trauma Center, it means the hospital doesn’t have to send patients as far away as it used to.

The hospital started operating as a level one center shortly after it opened last year so they would be prepared for the American College of Surgeons’ review earlier this summer. The biggest difference between the three levels of trauma centers is the number of resources.

“A level three trauma center has fewer resources available than a level two trauma center which has somewhat fewer resources available than a level one trauma center,” Briggs said.

Requirements for the recognition include having a specialist and the equipment to treat trauma patients 24/7. But in 2017, Sanford’s Medical Center treated more than 1,500 trauma patients.

Sanford Fargo president Nate White says typically level one trauma centers are only found in urban areas because of the volume of patients they treat and the academic institutions they’re associated with. It’s now why the hospital will serve as a destination for many Midwest states.

“Being the only level one trauma center in the states of North and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, it’s a pretty big deal. It means a commitment obviously to clinical excellence and it means the fact that our patients want to come here and we’re the preeminent trauma center in this area,” said Nate White, Sanford Fargo president.

It also means students can stay in town for their residency versus going to that urban setting.

“For us to be able to offer this type of training setting for the University of North Dakota and the medical students that are training right here in the state is obviously important and it helps with the momentum of this,” White said.

After receiving such a high honor, it’s now all about asking one question to continue providing patients with the best care.

“What’re the services we don’t currently offer in this market that we could and or should,” White said.

Sanford’s Children’s Hospital was also verified as a Level Two Pediatric Trauma Center in 2014.

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