For Immediate Release November 04, 2019

CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Memorial Hospital of Carbondale will become the first hospital in southern Illinois to be designated as a trauma center.

In a release, SIH announced the hospital's Level II trauma center designation will go live at 7 a.m. Monday, November 4, a result that stems from five years of hard work and meticulous planning behind the scenes.

There are two levels of trauma centers in Illinois. Level II centers handle the second-most severe level of injuries. Level II trauma patients experience injuries that doctors can definitively treat, such as trauma sustained in an assault, a fall, or a crash.

The hospital held its final practice drill Friday to demonstrate the carefully orchestrated process of transporting patients and getting them immediate treatment.

The trauma program's medical director Dr. Eduardo Smith-Singares says the new designation will allow victims to be treated within the 'golden hour.' The term refers to the time from the patient's initial injury to the time the patient is treated.

Prior to the designation, Dr. Smith-Singares says the closest trauma centers were located in St. Louis and Evansville, 40 minutes away by helicopter. He adds that treating the patient within that critical time frame can make the difference between life and death.

"Forty minutes is already two-thirds of the 'golden hour.' If the EMS crew is not at the site of the accident within the first 10 minutes, the patient will be late," Dr. Smith-Singares said. "The first 'golden hour' of outcomes will be missed, and these outcomes will not be as good."

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