UW News

March 31, 1999

Harborview re-designated for Level I trauma services

The Washington State Department of Health has re-designated Harborview Medical Center to provide Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Services. The pediatric re-designation was achieved in collaboration with Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. The re-designation, which has a three-year term, followed a site visit last fall.

Harborview was formally designated as the state’s only Level I Trauma Center for adults in 1993. The pediatric designation, which is a collaborative effort by Harborview and Children’s, was first established in 1995.

Harborview provides emergency, surgical, intensive and acute care to adults and children who have suffered trauma and burns. Pediatric patients can then be transferred to Children’s for continued care or rehabilitation, if necessary.

The collaborative relationship between Harborview and Children’s is facilitated by physicians and at both medical centers, all of whom are University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine faculty. The unique collaboration between Children’s and Harborview is responsible for the success of this coordinated effort.

Harborview admits more than 500 pediatric trauma and burn patients each year, according to Dr. Ronald Maier, chief of Surgery at Harborview and a UW professor of surgery. Harborview’s and Children’s designation as the state’s only Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Service is a component of the Washington State Emergency Medical and Trauma Care System.

A Level I Trauma Center provides the highest level of care for patients with complex traumatic injuries. Emergency physicians, nurses and surgeons are in-house and available to patients within five minutes. Under the state Trauma Care System, other hospitals caring for trauma patients use Harborview and Children’s for the highest level of care.

The long-term goal of a Level I Trauma Service is to enable people with severe injuries to achieve their fullest potential and so improve their quality of life. By creating a seamless continuum of care, Harborview and Childrens make this goal possible, according to Dr. Kenneth Jaffe, director of the Children’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and a UW professor of rehabilitation and pediatrics.