Hospital earns 'trauma' designation

Enumclaw Community Hospital has been named a Level V trauma center, the first facility in King County to carry that designation.

The three-year contract between the local hospital and the state Department of Health takes effect this month.

"This is an important accomplishment for the hospital and a testimony to the hard work of our employees and medical staff," said Dennis Popp, executive director at the hospital. He said earning the Level V trauma designation required the hospital "to meet rigorous guidelines and pass a site visit by the Department of Health survey team." That occurred in mid-July.

"We were very pleased by the feedback we received from the survey team," Popp said. "The hospital was noted as having exceptional resources and for exceeding Level V requirements by having three general and two orthopedic surgeons on staff, which is highly unusual for most Level V's."

"Becoming a Level V Trauma Center is important for a number of reasons," according to Richard Dickson, Emergency Department Manager. He said the development will increase the skills and training of hospital employees and give staff access and to grants. In addition, the increased availability of funds relative to trauma and mass casualty incidents will help the hospital enhance the level of service.

"As a member of the Trauma Council, we will receive funding and equipment grants as the only trauma center south of a major event venue," he said, referring to the hospital's proximity to the White River Amphitheatre.

The Trauma Level V designation is good for the hospital and the community alike, agrees Dr. Paul Gunderson, Trauma Center medical director. With capabilities and responsibilities more clear-cut, treatment can be expedited, he said.

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