Subscribe to RSS - Trauma/Burn

Mercy Hospital Joplin Receives Level II Trauma Certification

Media Contact: 

The Mercy Hospital Joplin trauma team is led by
Dr. Charles Ro (in white lab coat) and
Donna Hughes, trauma program coordinator (far right).

Whether you suffer a heart attack, stroke or trauma, the State of Missouri has determined that Mercy Hospital Joplin is prepared to care for you.

One year after obtaining provisional status, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has given the hospital emergency department's trauma program the full five-year Level II certification, the most years allowed by the state. It’s a milestone for a hospital that was destroyed by the May 2011 tornado and was unable to provide trauma services until after opening at the new location in March 2015.

“Even though we had a really strong tradition of providing excellent trauma care to patients, state regulations classified it as a new building and location starting up a new trauma program,” said Dr. Charles Ro, trauma director. “Once we got into our final hospital, we had the capacity and the manpower to take in trauma patients.

“The fact that we’ve been given the full five-year certification means we’ve met all of the state’s standards. Our goal is to not just meet the minimum standards, but to provide excellent care. The community should know that we are here and ready to provide the best care to the sickest of patients.”

To attain this designation, Mercy had to meet several criteria, including:

  • A long-standing commitment to trauma care.
  • Well-equipped facility with the latest technology.
  • Integrated physician structure, meaning the doctors are employed by the hospital.
  • High level of education and credentialing of nurses for trauma patients.
  • Radiology support and easily accessible equipment.
  • Operating room with necessary staff.

Donna Hughes, RN, trauma program manager, noted the excitement among the staff when it learned of the certification. “It makes us feel good because we moved from building to building (after the tornado),” she said. “Then we had the state here for our provisional inspection within 30 days of opening.”

“I would like to thank all of the medical staff and co-workers who invested long hours and great effort to help achieve this important milestone,” Ro said.

The 5-year certification, which began from the date of the initial state inspection, continues until April 14, 2020.


Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Hospital St. Louis Earns 2015 Leapfrog Top Hospital Award

Media Contact: 

Mercy Hospital St. Louis
was named a Leapfrog Top Hospital.

ST. LOUIS – For the second time, The Leapfrog Group named Mercy Hospital St. Louis to its annual list of Top Hospitals, one of only 98 hospitals across the country and the only in Missouri.

This coveted and respected recognition showcases Mercy’s commitment to Leapfrog’s vision of providing the safest, highest quality health care for consumers and purchasers alike.

“The quality care our co-workers and physicians provide continues to be recognized by various organizations,” said Jeff Johnston, Mercy Hospital St. Louis president. “Our teams’ active participation and commitment to improving patient care and processes at every level helps us continuously make patients’ safety and comfort better.”

Mercy Hospital St. Louis was one of 98 Top Hospitals recognized and selected from hospitals participating in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey. The list includes:

  • 24 Top Rural Hospitals
  • 62 Top Urban Hospitals
  • 12 Top Children’s Hospitals

The selection is based on the results of The Leapfrog Group’s annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals’ performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use and management structures established to prevent errors. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including survival rates for high-risk procedures and a hospital’s ability to prevent medication errors.

“Leapfrog’s Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious distinctions any hospital can achieve in the United States,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Top Hospitals have lower infection rates, better outcomes, decreased length of stay and fewer readmissions. By achieving Top Hospital status, Mercy Hospital St. Louis has proven it prioritizes the safety of its patients, is committed to transparency and provides exemplary care for families and patients in St. Louis. I congratulate the board, staff, and clinicians of Mercy St. Louis whose efforts achieved these results.”

The Leapfrog Top Hospital award is the latest in a string of recent quality honors for Mercy Hospital St. Louis. It’s been recognized by The Joint Commission with its 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®, Truven Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals as well as bi-annual Leapfrog “A” grades for patient safety.

The Top Hospital award is given to urban, rural and children's hospitals that publicly report their performance through the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey and meet the high standards defined in each year's Top Hospitals Methodology

To see the full list of institutions honored as a 2015 Top Hospital, please visit

About The Leapfrog Group 
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. Hospital Safety Score, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

Mercy Hospital St. Louis, part of Mercy’s east Missouri region, is a 979-bed comprehensive teaching hospital. The 80-acre site houses a nine-level heart and vascular hospital, a cancer center, a comprehensive pediatric hospital, a surgery center and a 120-bed skilled nursing center. Mercy is the seventh largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves millions annually. Mercy includes 46 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.  

Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Hand Surgeon Says Think Twice About New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Media Contact: 

Firework Injuries Spark On New Year's Eve

By Mercy's Courtney Landsberger

New Year’s Eve is right around the corner – and while it may be fun to ring in 2016 with fireworks, it can be dangerous. Across the nation last year, 11 people died and more than 10,000 were rushed to the emergency room with injuries caused by fireworks. In 2013, most of the injuries were in young children.

“Some of the worst injuries I’ve seen are in children,” said Mercy’s Dr. Sylvia Gray, who specializes in hand surgery. “Even when kids are being supervised, you have to remember they’re handling explosives. Even sparklers can cause injuries.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 40 percent of all fireworks injuries are from small devices, like sparklers. They can easily reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees, enough to cause serious burns if used incorrectly. But Dr. Gray says most of the injuries she sees are from bottle rockets and artillery shells.

“Almost every major fireworks injury results in the loss of at least one finger. The majority of these injuries are very devastating. No one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them. People think it’s OK to hold fireworks while they light them, whether they have a long cord or not, and often those explode in their hands.”

One night of celebration can affect someone for the rest of their life.

Dr. Sylvia Gray 

“People usually hold fireworks in their dominant hand, and if you lose some of your fingers, you no longer have that hand to do anything,” Dr. Gray said. “You have to have multiple surgeries  to get any function from what you have left, so for the rest of your life you have to adapt to either being one-handed or figure out how to do things very differently.”

That includes small things like brushing your teeth, or even writing your name.

If you plan to celebrate the holidays with fireworks, here are some reminders to keep loved ones safe:

  • Never light fireworks in your hand
  • Always supervise children
  • Stand at least 500 feet away from a fireworks display
  • Never try to relight, or pick up a “dud,” and always douse it in water before handling.
Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Dominates MOD Nurse of the Year Awards

Media Contact: 

Mery's March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Winners: Karen Heembrock, 
Judy Davidson, Chelie Muraski, Barb Sicking, Angel Mortensen,
Donna Frazier, Kara Ranft, 
DeAnn Wilson, Linda Newberry and Angela Novak.

Not pictured: Kierstin Nowack

ST. LOUIS - Mercy nurses won more than half of the awards at the 4th Annual March of Dimes (MOD) Nurse of the Year Awards Gala Oct. 11. The awards honor Missouri and Metro East nurses who exemplify an extraordinary level of patient care, compassion and customer service.

The March of Dimes presented awards in 19 categories during their gala at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis. Mercy nurses won in 10 of the19 categories: nine from Mercy Hospital St. Louis and one from Mercy Hospital Jefferson. 


Mercy Hospital


Judy Davidson

Mercy Hospital St. Louis


Karen Heembrock 

Mercy Hospital Jefferson

Emergency Care

Angel Mortensen

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Behavioral Health

Chelie Muraski

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Women's Health and OB

Linda Newberry

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

General Medical (Adult Care)

Angela Novak

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Critical Care

Kierstin Nowack

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Student Nurse

Kara Ranft 

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Rising Star

Barb Sicking

Mercy Hospital St. Louis


DeAnn Wilson

Mercy Hospital St. Louis

Advanced Practice



Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Joplin Trauma Status Returns Post Tornado

Media Contact: 

Joplin, Mo. (July 1, 2015) - Mercy Joplin has been recertified as a Level II Trauma Center by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Division of Health Standards and Licensure.

To be recertified, Mercy underwent a survey by a team from DHSS, which included an on-site visit to various areas within the facility as well as case reviews. 

To attain this designation, Mercy had to meet several criteria, including:

  • A long-standing commitment  to trauma care 
  • Well-equipped facility with the latest technology
  • Integrated physician structure
  • High level of education and credentialing of nurses for trauma patients
  • Radiology support and easily accessible equipment
  • Operating room with necessary staff

“This recertification from DHSS further validates what we, as a team at Mercy, have worked so hard to achieve,” said Dr. Charles Ro, trauma director. “We can once again offer the highest level of care for the injured patients that seek help at Mercy Joplin.”  

Show EMS Sitewide: 

Nearly 800 High School Students Attend Mercy’s Health Careers Exploration Day

Media Contact: 

Students get hands-on experience in a one-stop-shop setting. 
MEDIA: To download photos, please double click to be redirected to Flickr.

ST. LOUIS – Saving babies, stitching up after surgery, and inserting a chemotherapy PICC line are just a few examples of the hands-on opportunities nearly 800 area high school students had a chance to experience at Mercy Hospital St. Louis’ Health Careers Exploration Day.

With more than 30 departments and nearly 200 co-workers, students asked questions about educational paths, career opportunities and anything else to help broaden their view of health care careers.

Webster Groves High School senior Madison Massarello is interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, and while she had some areas of interest coming in, she said the experience really opened her eyes to what’s possible.

“This has been super beneficial to someone going to the medical field,” Massarello said. “I didn’t know some of this stuff existed.”

Roosevelt High School senior Ebony Moore isn’t set on her career path but has interest in pharmacy, construction and physical therapy. She said it helps to visualize what the jobs are. “The names of jobs aren’t that interesting, but showing hands-on demonstrations is really helpful.”

It’s not only the students enjoying the day, but the school staff loves it for what it provides to students. Kim Litzou, supervisor for Rockwood’s Partners in Education program, said the program helps broaden horizons while narrowing focus for students.

“The experience created here can be life changing, life defining,” Litzou said. “We’ve had students change their career path because of what Mercy provides here.”

Litzou said Rockwood Partners in Education places 600 students in career shadow programs, 30 percent of those in the health care field. She added, “Kids wouldn’t get this type of experience in a shadow program because of the variety and the hands-on experience made available all in one day.”

Lindsay Ahrens, Mercy recruiter and coordinator of the Health Careers Exploration Day, is happy to hear the day is worthwhile for students. “We really wanted to create an atmosphere where students can ask questions, learn and get hands-on experience without feeling intimidated. In addition, it helps students understand the variety of opportunities in health care beyond doctors and nurses.”

Show EMS Sitewide: 

Celebrating Saints Among Us

Media Contact: 

Crystal Riesenberger, RN, is consistently recognized by patients.

ST. LOUIS - This year, as we celebrate Mercy Day - the opening of the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827 - we also celebrate co-workers who exemplify Mercy values and mission.

“My golden rule: Care for my patients the way I would want others to care for a member of my family,” said Crystal Riesenberger, RN,  Mercy Hospital St. Louis trauma surgery unit.

For Riesenberger, the decision to become a nurse was personal. When her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she saw how the nurses cared for her after surgery and during chemotherapy and radiation.

“The oncology nurses were a great inspiration, and to this day my mother still speaks highly of them,” Riesenberger said.

She wants to have that same impact on the patients she cares for today. To Riesenberger, patients aren’t just a room number, a disease or condition to be treated, but people.

Although Riesenberger admitted she is tone deaf, she has been known to sing to certain patients. “I do my best to get them to smile or laugh, even if it’s only for a minute or two, because in that moment they forget that they are in the hospital,” Riesenberger said.

Recently recognized on Mercy’s Facebook page, one of Riesenberger’s trauma surgery patients said in part: “Crystal actually somehow made it more enjoyable. I am not sure how with the excruciating pain I was experiencing. Crystal actually made me feel like I was being taken care of by a friend. Can you imagine your nurse being your best friend too? That was how amazing my stay was with Crystal on duty.”

Harris is one of many “Saints Among Us” at Mercy.

Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Clinic in St. Louis Welcomes New Doctors

Media Contact: 

New physicians join Mercy Clinic
(double click to download photos from Flickr).

ST. LOUIS - Mercy Clinic, the multi-specialty physician group affiliated with Mercy Hospital, recently added new doctors.

David German, MD, plastic and hand surgeon, joined Mercy Hyperbaric and Wound Care, 11700 Studt Ave., as medical director. He earned his medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and completed residencies in general surgery and plastic surgery at Saint Louis University Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Syed Huq, MD, hematologist and oncologist, joined Mercy Clinic Oncology and Hematology. He will see patients at both the Clarkson/Clayton (15945 Clayton Rd.) and Chippewa (6435 Chippewa St.) locations. He comes to St. Louis from Mercy in Rolla, Missouri. Huq earned his medical degree from Bangalore Medical College in India, and completed an internal medicine residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and a hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of Missouri – Columbia in Columbia, Missouri.

Herbert Lubowitz, MD, internal medicine physician, joined Mercy Clinic Internal Medicine –Creve Coeur, 12855 N. Forty Dr. In private practice for 35 years, Dr. Lubowitz earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center in Bronx, New York.

Paula Oldeg, MD, emergency medicine physician, joined Mercy Clinic Emergency Medicine. She will treat patients in the emergency department at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She earned her medical degree from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and completed an internal medicine residency at Boston Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Patricia A. Williams, MD, family medicine physician, joined Mercy Clinic Urgent Care – Fenton, 1203 Smizer Mill Rd. She earned her medical degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia School of Medicine in Columbia, Missouri, and completed a family medicine residency at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.

Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Hospital St. Louis Burn Center Receives Certificate of Verification

Media Contact: 

Mercy Burn Center physicians and co-workers gathered
to celebrate the verification achievement.

ST. LOUIS – The Burn Center at Mercy Hospital St. Louis was recently verified as an adult and pediatric burn center, the only verified center in Missouri.

Burn center verification is a voluntary joint program of the American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma. To achieve verification, Mercy met rigorous standards for organizational structure, personnel qualifications, facilities resources and medical care services. The verification highlights Mercy’s high quality patient care for burn patients from time of injury through rehabilitation.

“This national designation shows our patients and surrounding community the commitment we have made to provide the highest quality of care to those who need our services,” said Dr. Michael Smock, Mercy Burn Center director. “People may not think they’ll never need burn care, but when they do it’s good for them to know the level of care we provide.”

According to the ABA, burn injuries result in more than 500,000 hospital emergency department visits and approximately 50,000 acute admissions in the U.S. each year. Most burn injuries are relatively minor and patients are discharged following outpatient treatment at the initial medical facility. However, of the patients who require hospitalization, about 20,000 are admitted directly or by referral to hospitals with special capabilities in the treatment of burn injuries.

The Mercy Burn Center, a 12-bed unit, is the only facility providing comprehensive acute and reconstructive burn care for adults and children in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois.  Mercy Hospital St. Louis treats 256 burn patients each year.

Mercy Hospital St. Louis, part of Mercy’s east Missouri region, is a 979-bed comprehensive teaching hospital. The 80-acre site houses a nine-level heart and vascular hospital, a cancer center, a comprehensive pediatric hospital, a surgery center and a 120-bed skilled nursing center. Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 33 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, two rehab hospitals and one orthopedic hospital, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.


Show EMS Sitewide: 

Mercy Welcomes Kirkwood Fire Department

Media Contact: 

ST. LOUIS - The Kirkwood Fire Department officially joined Mercy for emergency medical services (EMS) medical direction. Kirkwood has 46 uniformed personnel and one civilian secretary, including three chief officers. Nearly all of the members are cross-trained as firefighters and paramedics or emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Mercy Saint Louis EMS Medical Director Dr. John Wimas is excited for the opportunity to work with Kirkwood Fire.

“We’re anxious to share our EMS education, outreach and technology with the men and women of Kirkwood,” Wilmas said. “Together we will provide great care to our communities.”

Mercy provides medical direction to nine area districts and departments, offering monthly EMS education with face-to-face, physician-led education. The training is also streamed live and recorded for EMS crews. Other recent innovations include EMSource, an interactive EMS app for first responders. EMSource hosts protocols, reference material, education, news and contact information. Other projects linking data and outcomes are currently being planned.  

Show EMS Sitewide: 


Top News

More than 200,000 people in five states will benefit from the grants.
While it’s encouraging people to get active, it’s also shedding light on familiar dangers.
Subscribe to Mercy News Coverage