Trauma Care Options Increase in NEPA

W-B hospital to open trauma center

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- Northeastern Pennsylvania is increasing its options when highly-skilled trauma care is necessary. It's coming from a hospital that was first established 145 years ago.     Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains how a newly earned designation will better serve the region effective September 1.

With a ceremonial snip of a ribbon Thursday, the staff at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital celebrated the dawn of a new era. After nearly a year and a half of preparation, the hospital received a Level II Trauma Care Center Accreditation.

"So now the work really gets started," said Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Director of Trauma Services Cheryl MacDonald-Sweet. The designation comes after the hospital demonstrated it has the resources to treat the most serious life-threatening and disabling injuries in the Diamond City. "Rather than taking an injured patient from the city out of the city, they can stop here first and time is often times the biggest critical factor in the care of the injured patient," said Ms. MacDonald-Sweet. 

In the past when a patient with traumatic injuries arrived at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, they would first be treated here in the emergency department. Their personal physician might even admit them and then a consult might occur with a skilled trauma surgeon. But by now having the Level II Trauma Care Center Accreditation, this hospital can deliver a higher level of care in a faster amount of time.

Four trauma surgeons and three general surgeons with trauma surgery experience can operate as quickly as possible on critically injured patients. The surgical staff may even expand. "The only surgical specialty which is increasing in size in demand is the emergency surgery and trauma," said Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Trauma Medical Director Denis Tereb, M.D.

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital becomes the third Level II Trauma Care Center in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Area. "It's definitely going to help the mass casualty situations," said Ms. MacDonald-Sweet. 

The trauma accreditation coincides with construction of the hospital's $40 million ICU tower set to open in early 2018 - expanding in size and service with the goal of providing the best patient outcomes. "Now we have to prove it by action that we do it and that will require dedication from everybody in this hospital," said Dr. Tereb.  

The Level II Trauma Care Center Accreditation means Wilkes-Barre General Hospital demonstrated it can provide the same high level of care as a Level 1. However, Level II Trauma Care Centers do not require research and residency programs.     


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