Queen’s Medical Center verified as Hawaii’s only level-one trauma center

Emergency care in Hawaii reaches the top level for seriously injured patients across the state.

The American College of Surgeons has designated Queen’s Medical Center as a level-one trauma center, making it the only one in the islands.

Officials say it’s an accomplishment that took millions of dollars in resources to achieve.

So how does it affect you?

According to hospital staff, it will raise the level of care not just here, but in all hospitals across the state.

The emergency department at Queen’s takes care of about 2,600 trauma patients every year.

As far as volume, officials say they already do level-one work, but it takes more than that to get accreditation.

Level-one hospitals also need to fulfill a required amount of education and research. Queen’s will do more of that, and share the wealth of knowledge and skills acquired along the way.

“So if we find that certain patients benefit from a certain change, then they can implement that change in their hospital, and that’s what the role of a level one really is to set the standards for other hospitals,” explained Dr. Michael Hayashi, Queen’s trauma medical director.

With the new status, staff is expected to work even more efficiently, and the work being done will be scrutinized even more.

Working more efficiently will be critical, especially in disasters when there are mass casualties, whether it’s hurricanes, multiple car crashes, or shootings.

“We can see a patient. We can work out what their injuries are. We can stabilize them more efficiently, and by doing that, it means we can send that next person in that room that much quicker,” said nurse manager Greg Payne.

Working more efficiently also means improving how procedures are done.

“That’s the idea behind level one, is to look at every process that you have pull it apart and make it better,” Payne said. “More importantly, you look at your data. You look at what you’re doing well, and what you’re not doing well, and then you bring in a new plan to try and improve.”

Officials say more education and research will not take staff away from the clinical work. The hospital will rely on other partners like the state to help out.

Even with that, the hospital had to invest a lot of money and other resources to get to level one.

“Our physicians who are on call for the emergency department here are really on call for the entire state,” said Hayashi. “They get calls all the time from every corner, every hospital, and they’ve stepped up and taken care of those patients.”

Queen’s says it started the process of accreditation two years ago, and has invested millions of dollars in resources to get to level one.

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