Kettering Health Hamilton achieves Level 3 Trauma Center status

Now that Kettering Health Hamilton is a Level 3 Trauma Center, one thing the hospital’s trauma surgery chief wants to do is conduct a mock mass casualty event.

Kettering Health Hamilton is formerly The Fort Hamilton Hospital and is located on Eaton Avenue.

Kettering Hamilton Chief of Trauma Surgery Dr. Ryan Grote said he knows the hospital system can manage mass casualty events, “but it’s always to be ready, heaven forbid, the need arises. We never want something like that to happen in our community.”

The mock event is being planned because the hospital last month became Ohio’s latest verified Level 3 Trauma Center, which provides the hospital more flexibility to help the community at large, said Grote.

There are multiple levels for trauma centers at hospitals across the United States, and Ohio has three classes, or levels, at hospitals, and two at pediatric hospitals. The classifications indicate the level of surgical care afforded at the medical facility. Grote said Kettering Health Hamilton sought to be a Level 3 Trauma Center “because it allows for access of care for the community at large, and it allows us to treat any traumatic patient quickly and help them within our hospital or at least get them transported to another higher-level care facility if needed more rapidly.”

Level 3 trauma centers don’t have the full availability of specialists ― for example, there’s not a neurosurgeon at Kettering Health Hamilton, but there is one within the Kettering Health Network and at nearby University of Cincinnati Medical Center ― but has resources for emergency resuscitation, surgery, and intensive care of most trauma patients. There are also transfer agreements with Level 1 or Level 2 trauma centers that provide backup resources for the care of patients with exceptionally severe injuries.

According to the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Kettering Health Hamilton is the seventh Level 3 Trauma Center in southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley area, and the second in Butler County (UC Health West Chester Medical Center is also a Level 3 center). Atrium Medical Center in the Warren County part of Middletown is also a Level 3 Trauma Center.

Grote said the hospital started the trauma center verification process in September 2019 and had its pre-verification review then, but the COVID-19 pandemic put that process on hold until this year. ACS waited three years to review Kettering Health Hamilton’s center. In early August, the hospital received preliminary approval and was approved in November.

Kettering Health Hamilton President Paul Hoover said this verification from the American College of Surgeons demonstrates the hospital’s “continued commitment to the highest quality of trauma care available only at Kettering Health Hamilton.”

“We’re so glad Butler County residents can count on high-quality care close to home, especially in an emergency when minutes matter,” he said. “Our team of providers are committed to bringing their best care to Hamilton. This is just one more way Kettering Health Hamilton is the leader in quality care close to home.”

Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller said the hospital’s Level 3 Trauma Center is not just important to the city, but to families.

“It keeps from having families from having to travel farther to visit someone who goes through a trauma situation,” he said.

Grote agreed, adding that the hospital tries to keep as much of a patient’s hospital care locally, and their transfer rate is “very low.”

“For the most part, we are able to maintain all of these patients here in our community, as well as within our hospitals,” Grote said. “Sometimes, we do have to transport patients to outlying facilities.”

From January 2020 through June 2022, Kettering Health Hospital’s trauma center was activated 139 times for Category 1 traumas and 416 times for Category 2 traumas, according to the hospital.

The most common types of injuries seen at the trauma center are a result of falls, motor vehicle accidents, and gunshot wounds, Grote said. Victims of assaults and accidents by a railroad or train are also frequently seen by the center.

The top reasons for a patient to be transferred from the hospital, Grote said, are for patients needing a neurosurgeon or with a spinal injury, and a pediatric patient under 16 years old.

Heading into 2023, Grote said the hospital plans to increase its community outreach, including educational outreach to reduce motor vehicle accidents, gunshot wounds, and “whatever we can do to go out and try to decrease those certain mechanisms of injuries that will decrease you coming to see me in the trauma bay.”

There will also be an increased presence and collaboration with the EMS crews to make sure they’re up to date on the newest medicines, and the newest medical techniques for things like airway management and inserting IV lines.

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