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San Benito
April 16, 2024

Hazel Hawkins pursues ER trauma designation

The Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital Emergency Department is currently working toward becoming a Level IV trauma center, giving the department the ability to treat more trauma patients locally. The Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation, in support of this endeavor, has funded the purchase of software and the HHH Auxiliary has funded the purchase of ultrasound equipment that is required for this trauma designation.

Once the hospital receives the trauma center designation, the ED will have trauma-trained nurses and physicians immediately available upon the patient’s arrival to the emergency department. Transfer agreements exist with other trauma centers of higher levels, for use when conditions warrant a transfer. Currently hospital staff are undergoing extensive training as a part of the certification process.

According to, Jennifer L. Cook, MSN, RN, Director of Emergency Services at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, the benefits of becoming a Level IV trauma center are:
• Greater benefits to the community as we can treat more trauma patients here in our community
• Better education….part of being a trauma center is educating the community on safety and how to avoid trauma
• Better care for our patients as we have benchmarks that must be met in order to improve patient outcomes.
A Level IV Trauma Center has demonstrated an ability to provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) prior to transfer of patients to a higher level trauma center. It provides evaluation, stabilization, and diagnostic capabilities for injured patients.

Elements of Level IV Trauma Centers Include:
• Basic emergency department facilities to implement ATLS protocols and 24-hour laboratory coverage. Available trauma nurses and physicians available upon patient arrival.
• May provide surgery and critical-care services if available.
• Has developed transfer agreements for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a Level I or Level II Trauma Center.
• Incorporates a comprehensive quality assessment program
• Involved with prevention efforts and must have an active outreach program for its referring communities.

The difference between a Level I and Level IV Trauma Center is that a Level I Trauma Center is capable of providing total care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehabilitation, including:
• 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons, and prompt availability of care in specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, hemodialysis and microvascular surgery, pediatric and critical care.
• Program for substance abuse screening and patient intervention.
• Acute rehabilitation services
• Meets minimum requirement for annual volume of severely injured patients.
Other area hospitals with trauma designations are:
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Level I
Stanford University Hospital – Level I
Regional Medical Center, San Jose – Level II
Natividad Medical Center – Level II