When John suffered a stroke last year, he was brought to North Oaks Medical
emergency room for treatment.
Understandably scared and concerned, John turned to his doctors for reassurance
that he would receive quality care. His doctor was able to share that
John was in good hands –– not only is North Oaks a verified Level II
Trauma Center, it is also a certified Primary Stroke Center.
“We’re proud to be recognized for the effort and hard work
of our team,” states Tyler Brignac, North Oaks Medical Center’s
trauma program manager. “We have so many who come to us, not realizing
they are being seen by some of the best and most skilled professionals
in the region.”
Last February, the North Oaks Shock Trauma Center earned official verification
from the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Trauma. The
Louisiana Department of Health also designated North Oaks as a Level II
As one of only five trauma centers in the state and the first in the region,
Brignac points out that the North Oaks Emergency Department is a busy
place, with about 80,000 visits expected this year. In 2016, 1,224 were
for trauma-related conditions. He adds that the department’s busiest
time is Thursday through Saturday, with the busiest hour 7–8 p.m.
About 220 patients per day come to the Emergency Department.
The majority of trauma patients are victims of motor vehicle crashes, falls,
assaults and purposely inflicted injuries, Brignac reports.
In the two years before certification, North Oaks Shock Trauma Center treated
nearly 2,000 injured patients and was forced to transfer many out of the
area to receive care.
“As a Level II Trauma Center, we are able to initiate immediate,
lifesaving care for all of our injured, 24/7,” Brignac adds. “Because
the first hour is so critical, we are saving the lives of patients who
may have died during transfer to other facilities.”
The Level II Trauma Center offers coverage provided by 27 emergency department
physicians, six trauma/critical care-trained surgeons and four midlevel
providers with assistance from specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery,
anesthesiology, radiology, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and ophthalmology.
All of the Emergency Department nurses caring for trauma patients have
Trauma Nurse Care Curriculum certification, providing indepth training
In addition, patients like John may take comfort in knowing that North
Oaks Medical Center was recertified as a Primary Stroke Center in 2016
by The Joint Commission, a nonprofit health care accreditation organization.
This means that the North Oaks program has been evaluated and found to
be in compliance with stroke care best practices to “foster better
outcomes for patients,” notes Dr. Socrates Zapata, North Oaks Stroke
Program medical director.
“This means that the program meets critical elements of performance
in achieving long-term success in providing prompt stroke care,”
Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. And it is the
fifth leading cause of death in Louisiana. Since North Oaks became a Level
II Trauma Center, 194 visitors have come to the emergency room with stroke symptoms.
Stroke patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of
their first symptoms may be treated with certain drugs that can improve
their outcomes. They are also less likely to have disabilities than those
who received delayed care, Zapata adds.
North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital is also stroke certified, caring for
those who require extra help before they are ready to return to daily
activities. The team works closely with the patient and his or her family
during daily therapy sessions.