CADILLAC — For patients, Munson Cadillac has already been a level IV trauma hospital for the past couple of years
But now, the hospital has the label.
"Munson Cadillac has been designated by the State of Michigan as a Level IV trauma facility for one year," said Bob Wheaton, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "Designation means that the facility has developed a trauma program and had those resources verified by a formal verification site visit."
The state of Michigan mandated that regional hospitals qualify for the level IV designation, and Cadillac Munson has been working to achieve the designation, according to Jeremy Carlson, director of emergency services at the hospital.
"We've had an ongoing trauma program, but you have to have a program in place for at least a year or more before you can even qualify to apply for designation," Carlson explained during an interview with the Cadillac News in the emergency department's offices.
Level IV is the introductory trauma level; the most advanced trauma hospitals are designated a level I trauma facility; in comparison, Traverse City Munson is a level II.
Cadillac-area patients will be flown or taken by ambulance to level I facilities downstate in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor or Detroit, if their injuries are severe enough.
"If somebody required that higher level of care, we're still gonna fly patients out the same way we are today," Carlson explained.
Cadillac Munson will continue "to treat and stabilize anything that comes in ... then you get them off to the definitive level of care," said Misty Donley, assistant manager of emergency services and the trauma program coordinator at Cadillac Munson.
Donley was part of the team that made it possible for Cadillac to receive the level IV trauma designation.
The level IV trauma designation means Munson has 24-hour emergency coverage by a physician or mid-level provider, such as a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, who has Advanced Trauma Life Support certification. There is also a formal trauma program at the facility and an ongoing training program that Donley runs. That includes trauma drills, where the emergency room team practices on a mannequin.
Cadillac sees plenty of trauma cases. There have been 253 trauma cases so far this year, Donley said.
"The lowest one obviously, would be like, if someone falls off a pedal bike," Donley said. An example of a more extreme trauma would be a boating accident with significant blood loss.
Carlson described it as, "We're giving you blood products ... It's an 'all-hands-on-deck-trying-to-save-your-life' kind of a scenario."
"Any gunshot wounds to your core or to your head is an automatic level one trauma," Donley said. "If they needed their airway to be stabilized, they would come here first. We would do those interventions, maybe start blood products, that sort of thing. And then on to the higher level of care," typically a helicopter ride to the level I trauma facilities in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor or Detroit, Donley explained.
“This designation is the result of tremendous effort and commitment from our team,‘ said Michael Mitry, M.D., Trauma Medical Director. “This allows us to provide an even higher level of care to those who need us in emergencies.‘
"The team is trained at a higher level now," Carlson said. "They're going to make that decision quicker and get you where you need to be. The goal is really all about time."