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St. Joseph Hospital Earns Highest Trauma Designation in Humboldt County


North Coast Emergency Medical Services Awards St. Joseph Hospital Level III Trauma Designation

(Eureka, CA – June 1, 2017) The North Coast Emergency Medical Services (NCEMS) awarded St. Joseph Hospital with a Level III Trauma designation today—the highest level trauma designation in the county. The Level III Trauma designation recognizes the hospital for having the resources and care providers needed to care for trauma patients with injuries such as high-speed motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle collisions, farming accidents, and falls from heights.

“Humboldt County is a rural area and it is critical for our neighbors to have access to trauma care close to home,” said Kari Vandiver, Nurse Manager, Trauma Services at St. Joseph Hospital. “We’ve been providing outstanding medical care for critically-injured patients since we opened our doors and will continue to do so for years to come. This designation is a testament to the comprehensive trauma care we provide.”

St. Joseph Hospital’s trauma team specializes in complex cases that often involve severe injuries to multiple organ systems. According to the American Trauma Society, hospitals with a Level III Trauma designation have demonstrated an ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care and stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations1. Hospitals’ with a Level III Trauma designation have:

  • 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists
  • A comprehensive quality assessment program
  • A developed transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II Trauma designated hospital
  • A plan to provide back-up care for rural and community hospitals
  • Continued education of the nursing and allied health personnel or the trauma team
  • Involvement with prevention efforts and an active outreach program for its referring communities

“North Coast EMS and the Emergency Medical Services community have worked together [with the hospital] to achieve this critically important step,” said Larry Karsteadt, Executive Director of North Coast EMS. “This designation represents a collaborative effort, decades in the making, to enhance the care of seriously injured adults and children in Humboldt County.”

In 2016, St. Joseph Hospital saw 35,000 Emergency Department (ED) visits, including nearly 400 patients who had suffered serious or life-threatening traumatic injuries. With 20 ED beds (including two trauma rooms), an Operating Room designated for trauma cases, a helipad, and nurses and physicians who specialize in trauma care, St. Joseph Hospital is ready to provide a quick response to those in need.

The team includes not only highly-skilled hospital staff, but also medical professionals at other hospitals in our region, along with area police and fire personnel, ground and air ambulance providers, and dispatchers who direct injured patients to the trauma center. The hospital’s trauma team will continue to work in close collaboration with its sister hospital, St. Joseph Health, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (a Level II) as well as Sutter Coast in Del Norte County (Level IV); Mercy Redding Hospital (Level II) and Mad River Community Hospital (Level IV).

About St. Joseph Hospital
St. Joseph Hospital has been serving the health care needs of Humboldt County since 1920. Comprised of two campuses, St. Joseph Hospital and the General Hospital campus are located within a quarter mile of each other in Eureka. SJH offers comprehensive services including emergency, cardiac services in The Heart Institute, an accredited Cancer Program, Women's and Children's Services in the Childbirth Center (including Pediatric Care and the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nursery (NICU) on the North Coast), Neurosurgery, and Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine.


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