When EMS gets called to a trauma – a car crash, a farming accident – the response is fast, and far-reaching.
As EMS rushes to the scene, the ambulance crew reports in to Medical Resource Control Center (MRCC), the regional dispatch center for emergency services. MRCC contacts the hospital’s Emergency Department, so the trauma team can prepare.
MRCC gives crucial details from the scene:
- Type of accident
- Number of injured people
- Injuries sustained
- Vital signs for each injured person
- Estimated time of arrival at the Emergency Department
It’s a lot of information coming fast – and sometimes changing fast.
At the hospital, the ED registrar announces “trauma team activation” via the hospital’s overhead paging system to gather the trauma team quickly:
- 1-2 Emergency Department doctors
- 2-3 Emergency Department nurses
- Respiratory therapy
- Medical/Surgical charge nurse
- House supervisor
- Patient advocate
An ED doctor and nurse triage the patient(s) as they arrive, based on the information from MRCC, the paramedics’ report, and a triage exam. That exam follows a two-part “trauma survey,” starting with a primary assessment for life-threatening injuries and conditions that must be addressed right away. Then, a secondary assessment examines the patient head-to-toe to make sure nothing was missed. Patients who need to be hospitalized are admitted or transferred.
Those who need a more specialized level of care are typically transferred to a Level 1 trauma center in the Twin Cities or Rochester. Patients are transferred via ambulance or helicopter, depending on what’s fastest and safest given the weather, road conditions, and other factors.
NH+C’s ED doctors, surgeons and hospitalists determine the most appropriate place for care based on the patient’s condition and needs.
Northfield Hospital is a Level 4 trauma center, designed to stabilize and transfer critical patients. A Level 1 trauma center has all the resources possible for critical care, including trauma surgeons, ICU, round-the-clock respiratory therapy, neurologists, pediatric specialists and more.
NH+C works with Level 1 trauma centers including Hennepin County Medical Center and Regions Hospital to ensure our patients get the care they need, when minutes matter.