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Upstate Hospital receives Level 1 trauma center designation

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)

Upstate University Hospital and the Golisano Children’s Hospital have won a Level 1 trauma center designation from the American College of Surgeons.

After a year and a half of investigations into the hospitals' adult and pediatric services, Upstate becomes the only hospital to get this Level 1 designation in New York state, since the state allowed hospitals to go after these designations two years ago.

The hospital already had the label in the eyes of New York state, but emergency department Dr. Eric Shaw says this outside award takes that up a notch.   

"Accreditation is the stepping stone for then really becoming even better at what we do. And saying, this is the public acknowledgment of what we do. But this is something we can say this is what we do best and now we can go further with it,” said Shaw.

And, Shaw says, seeing the plaque every day will be a moral booster for the staff. It’s coming at a time when the adult and pediatric emergency departments are seeing more patients. Dr. James Gregory, who is the medical director for the adult trauma center, says volume has jumped between 12 and 15 percent a year in the last three to five years.

“I think it’s because we are tightening up the system within the state. We’ve got more efficient transport. We’ve got excellent relationships with other hospitals in the region. They don’t have to go through a triage system. They pick up the phone and say we have a level one trauma for transport, and it’s immediately accepted at Upstate. No questions. Come,” said Gregory.

The hospital says this doesn’t change how it will treat trauma patients, but will lead the way to more research into trauma medicine. Shaw says there are already some projects underway.

“One example is, Dr. Gregory and I are working on, is for head trauma with people that are on anti-coagulants, that are on medicines that promote bleeding essentially," Shaw said. "Head trauma patients have a higher risk of bleeding inside their head, and once they’re on those medications, we’re looking at what is the best management strategies for those patients.”