Carolinas HealthCare System

Carolinas Trauma Network

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Carolinas Trauma Network is a comprehensive, clinically integrated care continuum, advancing and spreading evidence-based best practices for the prevention and management of injury across Carolinas HealthCare System, with the ultimate goal of reducing the incidence of injury across the communities we serve.

Every day across the Carolinas, the System meets the needs of trauma patients who have experienced accident or injury through our Trauma Centers, community partners and diverse network of more than 650 care locations, including: academic medical centers, hospitals, healthcare pavilions, physician practices, destination centers, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and hospice and palliative care.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a wound or injury caused by acute exposure to different types of energy (kinetic, chemical, thermal or electrical).

DoctorsExamples include concussion during a sporting event, wound caused by a gunshot or automobile crash, hip fracture caused by a fall.

Trauma/injury can be:

  • Intentional (assault, struck by blunt/thrown object or self-inflicted)
  • Unintentional (falls, motor vehicle crashes, overexertion or poisoning)

Trauma as a Public Health Issue

  • As the leading cause of death between ages
    1-44 and the fifth leading cause of death for all age groups, trauma/injury is a major public health issue with significant societal costs.
  • More than 2.8 million patients are hospitalized annually for injury care — in previous years, injury has resulted in $406 billion in medical and work loss cost.
  • In terms of years of productive life lost, prolonged or permanent disability and cost, trauma is now recognized as one of the most important threats to public health and safety in the United States.

Who Provides Trauma Care?

All healthcare providers serve people who have experienced trauma/injury. Most of these individuals have experienced minor injuries and seek care at physician offices, receive care in the field from first responders like school nurses or Emergency Medical System (EMS) personnel, or do not seek care at all. Patients with more severe injuries may require the services of a medical center – those patients may visit the Emergency Department and may require ground or air ambulance transportation to the hospital.

The most severely injured patients require an inpatient hospital stay and, potentially, surgery. Trauma Centers are specialized hospitals equipped to cooperatively meet the needs of these patients across facilities depending on the needs of the patient and the healthcare resources immediately available (equipment, personnel, facilities). Trauma Centers may be designated as Level I, Level II or Level III centers depending on the range of healthcare specialists and equipment available to meet the needs of patients 24 hours a day. Annual patient volume, involvement in research and medical education programs and injury prevention activities in the community also influence the level of Trauma Center designation.

Read more about what it means to be a Level I Trauma Center

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