Connecticut's only hospital for children has a new responsibility. When a child is in a serious car crash, the ambulance can now bring the child right to the emergency entrance.
The Connecticut Children's Medical Center received the designation of a Level One Trauma Center, which means it will treat seriously injured children under the age of 13.
The designation by the Connecticut Department of Health is the same Level One category given to the Hartford Hospital located next door to CCMC. Both hospitals will be able to handle trauma cases.
"This is the first in the nation of having two hospitals come together as a trauma institute," said Lenworth Jacobs, M.D., the doctor who spearheaded the move to combine the two emergency rooms.
Jacobs said trauma is the leading cause of death of American children between the ages of 1 and 18.
"Two institutions acting as one, as a trauma center, to offer the best possible trauma care to the children in the state," Martin Gavin, president of the Medical Center, said.
The hospital expects 60 to 75 badly injured children per year to use its trauma rooms, according to Gavin.
Brendan Campbell M.D., a pediatric surgeon at CCMC, said the surgeons, nurses and technicians at the hospital will have to be trained at a certain level of competence to meet the state's standards for a trauma center.
"And add to that the critical clinical resources that are necessary for the care of injured children such as state of the art operating suites, a pediatric intensive care unit and rehabilitation specialists," Campbell added.
The hospital said that it has purchased a state of the art CAT Scan machine and it has trained radiologists on the new equipment. It has also developed a staff of qualified pediatric medics that will be evaluated by the American College of Surgeons over a period of three years.
"I can assure you that the commitment of both institutions to deliver the highest level of care for these children stands strong," said Surgeon-in-chief, Fernando Ferrer, M.D.
Although the majority of pediatric trauma cases will now be transported directly to Connecticut Children’s, some of the more severe cases will still be transported to Hartford Hospital’s Emergency Department. Hartford Hospital maintains the state’s only air ambulance system, Life Star.