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North Oaks Medical Center Achieves Designation as Level II Trauma Center

North Oaks Shock Trauma Center has earned official verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and designation from the Louisiana Department of Health as a Level II Trauma Center.

Strategically located at the intersection of Interstates 12 and 55, known as the “Crossroads of the South,” North Oaks is the only Level II center serving Region 9, which is comprised of Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Helena, St.Tammany and Washington parishes, and one of five designated trauma centers in Louisiana.

“A key to saving the lives of trauma victims is getting them the care they need within the first 60 minutes, known as the ‘Golden Hour,’” explains Juan Duchesne, MD, FACS, FCCP, FCCM, North Oaks Shock Trauma Center’s Medical Director. “Countless medical studies have proven that this nationally recognized best practice in trauma medicine greatly improves a patient’s chances of survival and their overall outcomes.”

In addition to Duchesne, North Oaks Shock Trauma Center’s highly specialized team of trauma providers also includes: Drs. Marquinn Duke, Patrick Greiffenstein, Rosemarie Robledo and Jeremy Timmer; Physician Assistant Jennifer Esquinance; and Nurse Practitioners Aaron Bateman, Jodee Bernier and Ellen Wilson.

According to North Oaks Health System Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and North Oaks Medical Center Administrator Michele Sutton, FACHE, the hospital’s efforts to become a Level II Trauma Center began in 2012. That’s when health system officials answered the call of the Louisiana Emergency Response Network (LERN) to consider becoming the first verified and designated trauma center in Region 9 of the state. LERN is responsible for developing and maintaining a statewide system of emergency care coordination for patients suddenly stricken by serious traumatic injury or time-sensitive illness (such as heart attack and stroke). LERN also serves as a vital health care resource in the face of larger scale emergencies and natural disasters.

One of LERN’s strategic priorities is to facilitate development of a comprehensive statewide trauma network that includes a state-designated trauma center in each of Louisiana’s nine regions.

Accomplishing this strategic priority would place the majority of Louisiana’s citizens within one hour of a designated trauma center, according to LERN Executive Director Paige Hargrove, BSN, RN.

“Accessing quality trauma care close to home is better for your patients and their families,” Hargrove affirms. “It is a tremendous achievement – for the North Oaks team, for this region and for our state. LERN is proud to support North Oaks and looks forward to working together as we continue to build Louisiana’s trauma system.”

Since 2014, North Oaks Shock Trauma Center has treated nearly 2,000 injured patients and already realized a 50 percent decrease in the number of patients transferred out of our area to receive care. The majority of patients treated have been victims of ATV and motor vehicle crashes, falls, homicide attempts and purposely inflicted injuries, according to North Oaks Certified Programs Director Katie Sheets, BSN, RN.

“A Level II Trauma Center is able to initiate immediate, lifesaving care for all injured patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This includes immediate coverage provided by 27 emergency department physicians, 6 trauma/critical care-trained surgeons and 4 mid-level providers with assistance from specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, radiology, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and ophthalmology,” Sutton remarks. “Our comprehensive trauma service line also is supported by 350 nurses who staff our emergency department, operating room, post-anesthesia recovery unit, surgical intensive care unit, surgery unit and orthopedic-neurosurgery unit.”

The health system’s respiratory therapists, rehabilitation professionals,laboratory, environmental services, case managers and pastoral care ministers also assist the Shock Trauma Center in patient and family support. Community partners, including Acadian Ambulance Services and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency also play an important role in the trauma program.

Certified Programs Director Katie Sheets and Trauma Manager Tyler Brignac provide leadership for the center and are assisted by trauma registrars and a program assistant, while a Shock Trauma Clinic offers follow-up care to patients after they are discharged from the hospital to help them regain as much “pre-trauma” quality of life as possible.

North Oaks’ announcement culminates completion of a comprehensive on-site visit conducted by members of the Verification Review Committee of the ACS Committee on Trauma.

Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance as outlined by the ACS Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual.

During their site visit, Drs. Christopher Baker and James Kessel praised the leadership of the North Oaks Shock Trauma Program for their qualifications, commitment and active involvement in state and national trauma systems. They also commended North Oaks Medical Center’s administration for providing the necessary structural, equipment, and personnel resources to assure the trauma center’s success.

Established by the ACS in 1987, the Committee on Trauma’s Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which hospitals provide the full spectrum of care and resources necessary to address all of the needs of injured patients—from the critical golden hour to the rehabilitation process and every phase of medical care in between.

The ACS Committee on Trauma’s verification program provides confirmation that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The actual establishment and designation of trauma centers in Louisiana is the function of the Louisiana Department of Health.

Louisiana’s Level I Trauma Centers are located in New Orleans and Shreveport. In addition to North Oaks Shock Trauma Center in Hammond, other Level II Trauma Centers are located in Baton Rouge and Alexandria. Levels are determined by the ACS based on resources available at a verified trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly.

To learn more about the North Oaks Shock Trauma Center, call the North Oaks Public Relations Department at (985) 230-6647.