Saturday, May 28 , 2016, 6:42 pm | Fair with Haze 63º

Marian Medical Center Receives Trauma Center Designation

Santa Maria facility joins Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in serving the county's seriously injured patients

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

Santa Barbara County now has two certified trauma centers for seriously injured patients, with Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria announcing its certification on Friday.

The hospital has officially received designation approval from the Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Agency as a Level III trauma center.

Trauma centers are ranked for level of care available from one, being the highest, to five.

Prior to the new designation, severe trauma patients were sent only to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, which has a Level II trauma center.

The move to certify a North County hospital most likely will mean fewer trauma patients sent to Cottage, which also should mean fewer helicopter flights to that facility.

Evaluations of Marian took place March 29 by a team of trauma surveyors, who concluded that the hospital met the criteria. After they recommended approval to the county, the designation was granted.

A group of specialists, including expert trauma surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency physicians and nurses who are skilled in trauma services, were recruited and organized by the hospital.

Marian’s new 191-bed facility opened in the spring of 2012, and the trauma center designation is the newest notch on its belt.

“No one expects a crisis, and when seconds count, Marian’s trauma services team is prepared for the unexpected, with advanced lifesaving technology and the highest level of clinical services provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Dr. Joseph Centeno, trauma services medical director, said in a statement issued Friday.

The Marian trauma facility will provide resources to specialists for emergency resuscitation, surgery and intensive care for trauma patients, and also has transfer agreements with Level I and Level II centers that provide back-up resources for the care of exceptionally severe injuries, the statement said.

“With the opening of the new, state-of-the-art hospital and expanded modern emergency department, Marian now has the facilities necessary to meet the increased demand required for trauma patients,” said CharlesCova, Marian president and CEO.

Last week, Noozhawk spoke with CalStar chief flight nurse Adam Pettit about emergency transports in the county.

CalCtar helicopters fly patients in Santa Barbara County to trauma centers, formerly only at Cottage Hospital, when transport by ground ambulance isn’t possible or would be too slow.

“There’s just a level of care that (patients) get at a trauma hospital that they wouldn’t get elsewhere,” Pettit said. If someone has a major motorcycle accident, “they need about 10 different surgeons in a matter of about an hour and a half.”

Previously, that meant that patients were taken only to Cottage.

Cottage raised the ire of some neighbors when it opened its helipad for transport of critically ill patients last February, with some complaining to the City Council.

But that noise has apparently leveled off, and Cottage spokeswoman Maria Zate said Friday that there have been no complaints recently about helipad noise.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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