St. David's South Austin Medical Center is stepping up its trauma unit. As of this week the hospital has all of the capabilities of a Level II trauma program. While the certification could take up to a year, the team is already treating the most critical of patients.
The trauma services offered at the hospital are expanding as Austin grows.
"Our Emergency Department over the last year we just crested 110,000 emergency department visits. That's about a three percent growth year over year," said Todd Steward, the hospital's CEO. Under Steward, the hospital has initiated the process for Level II Trauma Verification. It's a process through the American College of Surgeons and a designation by the state.
"Trauma doesn't discriminate. It can happen to you or me no matter what you're planning. When you're the victim of a traumatic injury you want that kind of care available immediately," said Steward.
As part of the preparations a new shock trauma unit is now open. It's a higher intensive care unit with ten more beds. The move to providing the care also means more jobs.
"We've hired a number of nurses that are trauma trained and throughout the entire hospital we will hire up to 51 people to support the trauma program," explained Steward.
Last year the hospital received nearly 17,000 EMS transports. That's up from 14,000 visits in 2014.
"We have all the equipment and people in place for a Level II," said Steward.
Steward says the location of the hospital right off of Highway 71 in between Mopac and I-35 makes the hospital convenient for first responders. Level II is the highest trauma level a hospital can achieve without being affiliated with an academic research facility or residency program.