The medical center is now equipped to qualify as an advanced trauma care facility to treat residents between South Austin and North San Antonio.
Before March 2017, Central Texas residents living in the belt between Austin and San Antonio would need to budget time to drive to these major cities’ medical facilities in the event of a traumatic injury—time that they could not always afford.
However, Seton Medical Center in Kyle announced Friday that this facility can now treat patients with traumatic injuries as long as their conditions are stable.
“Growing up where I was from, we often heard about what a burden it was for the patients and for the families to leave their community to go drive 115 miles, to take time off of work, etcetera,” said Dr. Oscar Rios, lead trauma surgeon and Director. “So, that’s what we want to help our community have…to have their support system to be around.”
Neil Kelley describes a stable condition as blood pressure above 90, heart rate within standard limits and the ability to move all four extremities (if a patient is unable to move their arms or legs and the extremities themselves are not injured, it may indicate a spinal injury, which would be a critical, unstable condition). If Seton Hays is incapable of treating a critical injury, patients would be transferred to Dell Seton in Austin, Texas.
The hospital implemented many features to qualify as an advanced trauma center, and is currently in the process of progressing from a Level IV to a Level III trauma care facility under Texas provisions. Some of the advancements include four in-house trauma surgeons available 24/7, certain specialties that are available within 30 minutes of the facility (such as critical care), and new trauma care certifications and drills.
“Seton Hays recently invested half a million dollars into our operating rooms, and that’s to help our community,” said Rios. “But it’s not just having the right equipment, it’s having the right doctors. Right now, our nurses are trained for and have advanced trauma certifications.”
Additionally, San Marcos Hays County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) donated two brand new, state-of-the-art ambulances with the latest patient care and lift technology, including the capability for paramedics to communicate with the emergency room department before they’ve even arrived at the hospital.
David Smith, President of Seton South Group of Hospitals, anticipates that next year Seton Hays will respond to almost 14,000 incidents, which is a 50% increase from 2015.
“As more citizens continue to move here, we’re going to have to be able to meet demands for higher call to service,” Smith said. “It’s important that Seton develops and implements advanced trauma capabilities here.”
Seton Medical Center Hays has been running since 2009, but was incapable of treating Level III trauma injuries to the inhabitants of Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties until now. Dr. Rios expressed the importance of this advancement during his speech.
“We want to send the message to the community that we’re here for you, we’re able, we’re capable, and we are safe,” said Rios.
Smith anticipates that Seton Hays will progress into higher levels of trauma care as it begins to see more patients, and Neil Kelley reports that they have already seen a significant influx of trauma patients since they began treating in early March.