The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 9, 2012

Trauma center

Upgrade good for health care in southern West Virginia

— Last week, West Virginia’s Bureau of Public Health’s Division of Trauma announced that Raleigh General Hospital has been verified as a Level III Trauma Center.

It’s the only one of its kind in southern West Virginia.

In fact, Raleigh General Hospital is now one of only two Level III Trauma Centers in the state, along with City Hospital in Martinsburg.

Allen Peters, president and CEO of RGH summed it up best, saying “What this designation means for our citizens of southern West Virginia is that we have demonstrated the ability to take care of trauma patients that would otherwise have to go to Charleston or WVU. It demonstrates the quality of the services we have available. Our trauma and orthopedic surgeons, for instance, are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to serve the people in our community.”

There are only two Level I Trauma Centers in the state, West Virginia University Hospital and Charleston Area Medical Center.

Trauma Centers are verified by the Verification Review Committee. The verifications indicate the center meets the appropriate criteria through an onsite review of the hospital conducted by a team of reviewers experienced in the field of trauma.

A Level III Trauma Center “has demonstrated an ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations,” according to the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. RGH improved its status from a Level IV, which “demonstrates an ability to provide advanced trauma life support prior to transfer of patients to a higher level trauma center.”

That’s what makes this upgrade significant.

Without the need to transfer patients from RGH now, gone is the oft-required ambulance or other emergency transportation time.

That distinction alone may not only save lives, but save patients money.

Reliable health care is essential in a thriving community and region.

It’s nice to know, and be reassured by health care professionals, that top notch care is available in southern West Virginia.

Our hats are off to the fine staff at Raleigh General Hospital, not only for its hard work in attaining this goal, but for the dedication in providing superior care for our injured or ill loved ones.