Trauma Care Moves Up a Level in Topeka

Sharon Mulqueen believes the trauma care available in Topeka saved her son's life, and now it's quality is being recognized.

Stormont-Vail HealthCare is now verified as a Level II trauma center. It is only the fifth verified trauma center in Kansas. The state has three Level I facilities, KU Medical Center in Kansas City, and Via Christi Regional Medical Center and Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. The other Level II facility is Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

Sharon's then 22-year old son Joshua suffered life threatening injuries in a motorcycle accident in April 2008 and was taken to Stormont. She admits being "scared to death," worried that they weren't equipped to handle such a terrible trauma.

Joshua was met in the emergency department by Stormont's trauma team. When Sharon, herself a former trauma nurse, arrived, she couldn't believe what she saw. She says the scene was orchestrated with each of the players going about their part, from the doctors and nurses, to the respiratory therapists and lab techs.

That team is why Stormont earned the Level II verification. To qualify, a center must have a dedicated group representing all aspects of care that is trained to respond immediately to a trauma situation. In addition, a specialized trauma team continues care even after a patient is stabilized and in the operating room. Level II trauma centers also must have 24/7 neurosurgery coverage.

Studies show this organized approach to trauma care can reduce mortality 20 to 30 percent.

Sharon is convinced it is what saved Joshua. She says she is proud to live in a community where a trauma center is available.

Joshua's recovery has been remarkable. Told he may not walk again, he's back to doing everything he did before the accident. He also looks at life differently, saying life is precious and don't take it for granted.

Stormont's trauma care will take another step forward when its new Emergency and Trauma Center addition opens at the corner of 8th and Washburn. People are invited to tour it during a public open house from 5 to 8 pm, June 17th.


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