Whether it’s a car crash or a bad fall, when your family needs emergency care in a hurry, Mercy Hospital Berryville is ready to help. It’s been named a Level III trauma center for Arkansas.
“Mortality rates for trauma patients are significantly higher in rural areas,” explained Dr. Milo Warner, medical director for the emergency trauma center. “Delay to care is one of the reasons for that, and it’s why Arkansas has created a statewide communications system. It monitors hospitals and keeps track of what special services are available so a patient can be transferred to the facility that’s best able to care for them.”
To attain the Level III designation, Mercy Hospital Berryville had to meet a number of criteria. Hospital staff is prepared to operate on patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Physicians are certified in Advanced Trauma Life Support, and nurses are certified in Trauma Nurse Core Curriculum. The hospital has also invested in new equipment, like a bedside ultrasound machine for rapid diagnosis of internal injuries and a glide scope for easily placing a tube into the airways.
Another important role of a Level III trauma center is to evaluate patients to see if they need to be stabilized and then transferred to a larger facility. Mercy Hospital Springfield serves as the Level I trauma center for the northwest and north central regions of Arkansas. “Patients can be evaluated in our emergency department and, if needed, be transferred quickly to Springfield in a state-of-the art helicopter for Level I treatment,” said Cindy Selover, emergency trauma director at Mercy Hospital Berryville. “If a patient is transferred to Springfield or Mercy Hospital Rogers, their electronic health record goes with them. That means the staff at the other Mercy facilities knows everything from what we’ve done to stabilize them to what medications they’re currently taking, and anything else in their health history that might cause concerns.” It also means x-rays and lab work get to the next care team before the patient ever arrives, so they can be prepared.
Now that Mercy Hospital Berryville has achieved Level III status, it isn’t finished. Along with continuing education for the staff, there are more plans to upgrade equipment. The hospital is purchasing additional cardiac monitors and better overhead lights for the exam rooms.
“We hope continually improving our knowledge and technology will save the lives of our neighbors when they need us most,” said Kristy Estrem, president of Mercy Hospital Berryville. “It’s why we’re here, and why we worked so hard for the Level III designation.”