UTMB Level One Trauma Center Re-Certified

Almost three years after Hurricane Ike, UTMB-Galveston again has a Level One Trauma Center. The re-designation means the greater Houston area again has three of the crucial trauma centers. Laurie Johnson reports.

Hurricane Ike severely damaged the UTMB Medical complex, including the trauma care center there.  It was eventually downgraded to a level three center about a year and a half ago. That left the region with only two Level One trauma centers, Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center. Now, after repairs and increased staffing levels, UTMB’s level one trauma center has been re-certified. UTMB President Dr. David Callender says that’s important in several ways.  

“We can again advertise ourselves as a Level One trauma center, which we think is very important for the people in the region. We want everybody to know that we provide this level of service. We serve as a point of referral, not only for patients, but for doctors, hospitals, nurses who are providing care to injured and sick people around
the region. Number two, it also allows us access to the state’s trauma funds that it collects to support trauma systems operations around the state, so it really serves us in two ways.”

Callender says the return of UTMB’s Level One Trauma Center means the Houston’s two trauma centers won’t be quite as stressed.

“Most of the experts say that you need one Level One trauma center for every 1 million people in a metropolitan region. So, Houston at a minimum needs three, and if you talk to our colleagues at Memorial Hermann and Ben Taub, they will tell you that they were stretched thin when we went offline after Hurricane Ike.”  

Callender says although there are still repairs to make, the UTMB campus is fully functional and has even added some programs over the past year.

Written by Jack Williams and voiced by Laurie Johnson.