North Hawaii Community Hospital Achieves Level III Trauma Designation

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) has been designated as a Level III Trauma Facility by Hawaii’s Department of Health, Emergency Medical Services, and Injury Prevention Branch. This designation is a confirmation that NHCH meets standards set by the State of Hawaii for Level III Trauma Facility and is equipped to work within the State Trauma System to assist in the care of Hawaii County residents and visitors who have sustained traumatic injuries.

North Hawaii Community Hospital

North Hawaii Community Hospital

“The Level III Trauma designation is a tribute to the dedicated efforts of our trauma and medical personnel, the people most responsible for making it happen,” said Howard Wong, M.D., General Surgeon and Medical Director of NHCH’s Trauma Program. The designation was awarded after intensive inspection of the NHCH trauma team’s performance by the Department of Health. NHCH’s enhanced ability to promptly diagnose and treat trauma cases will answer a critical need in both the local and island-wide communities. The presence of a fully-equipped Level III facility in Waimea will go far in reducing delays, with the town’s central location in North Hawaii an important ingredient in streamlining emergency treatment.

The Level III designation means that NHCH offers comprehensive emergency services along with more rapid treatment of patients. In fulfilling the State Trauma System requirements, the hospital will have surgeons trained in trauma available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Injured patients will be assured 24-hour access to radiology, laboratory and anesthesia services. Howard Wong stated “the 24/7 presence of a surgeon trained in trauma is one of the most positive steps we can take to strengthen our commitment to saving patients’ lives.”

Achieving the Level III status solidifies NHCH staff’s maintenance of high-quality, precise injury assessment, emergency services, stabilization, resuscitation, and patient transfer services. According to hospital Trauma Coordinator, Jeff Castillo, “By using a multidisciplinary approach to trauma cases, team members from different departments immediately report to our Emergency Department. This measure will strongly add to the efficiency of our initial assessment and stabilization of the patient.” He noted that this “team orientation” produces a more rapid transfer of patients to other care facilities when necessary.

NHCH invites the public to attend a celebration in honor of our Level III trauma designation on Thursday, December 12th at 2:00 p.m. on the hospital’s front lawn. For more information about this event or NHCH’s Trauma Program, please call 881-4820.


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