MUSC trauma center

Requirements for a Trauma Center

The MUSC Regional Trauma Center has been the Lowcountry’s only Level 1 trauma center since 1980 and is one of only four in South Carolina. Level I trauma centers are recognized for having the highest level of capabilities available for treating the most critically injured patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A Level I trauma center typically is a regional resource center for large cities or population-dense areas.  As is the case with MUSC, Level I trauma centers generally are attached to medical schools or have residency programs.  Research has clearly shown severely injured patients who are taken to a Level 1 Trauma Center have improved survival rates.  South Carolina also has one Level II trauma center and 13 Level III trauma centers, which provide a lower level of trauma care than Level I centers.

Requirements for a Level I trauma center include:

  • In-house emergency medicine, general surgery, anesthesia capability at all times
  • Other specialists must be on-call and must respond within a short time to the following trauma alerts:
    • Cardiac surgery
    • Hand surgery
    • Neurologic surgery
    • Obstetrics/gynecologic surgery
    • Pediatric surgery
    • Ophthalmic surgery
    • Reconstructive surgery
    • Orthopedic surgery
    • Plastic surgery
    • Surgical critical care medicine
    • Radiology
    • Thoracic surgery
  • Extensive equipment requirements
  • Specific clinical qualifications and trauma-specific continuing medical education requirements for physicians and other medical staff
  • Operating Room availability 24/7 and in-house OR staff
  • Specific quality improvement monitoring of trauma patient care and continual monitoring of trauma care protocols and policies
  • Participation in injury prevention activities within the community
  • Research requirements

MUSC has an Injury Prevention Program and provides trauma education to EMS providers and physicians in South Carolina and nationally. Its research efforts are aimed at improving the care of injured patients and include investigations into motor vehicle crash deaths, abdominal injuries especially small bowel injury, traumatic brain injury, trauma systems development and the role of novel technology (such as telemedicine) in improving the care of injured patients.

MUSC Trauma Center leaders also hold key state and national positions in trauma care organizations. Dr. Fakhry is President-Elect of the American Trauma Society and a member of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee, President of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma Foundation, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Trauma, the American College of Surgeons National Committee on Trauma, and the Trauma Center Association of America’s Board of Directors.

Norcross is Chairman of the S.C. Trauma Advisory Council. Couillard is a member of the Society of Trauma Nurses and the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, treasurer of the Trauma Association of South Carolina, and Vice President of the High School Injury Prevention Coalition.


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