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Trauma System

The System

Trauma System Purpose

A trauma system is a functioning plan, which coordinates the efforts of medical, law enforcement, fire and government agencies on behalf of the trauma victim.


Its purpose is to provide the same high level of care to every trauma victim, without delay, from rescue and response at the scene of the accident to rehabilitation.

The first hour after a person has been seriously injured is critical. It is within this time frame that trauma care professionals can most effectively prevent a trauma patient from dying or being permanently disabled. Often referred to as "The Golden Hour", it is the period of time when a trauma system can help make medical miracles possible and provide new leases of life. It is also the time period when, for lack of a trauma system, many patients do not survive. The development of a nation-wide trauma system and the establishment of regional trauma centers will provide a high state of readiness, training and technological skill in response to traumatic injuries. That means having medical specialists available at all times, a well-trained trauma team, and all the necessary equipment in place to care for a trauma victim. Due to the climate, terrain, and relatively low quantity of roads in the north state region, which all affect emergency response time, it is especially important for the health and safety of all north state residents to establish a trauma system in this area.

The Nor-Cal EMS Trauma System incorporates an inclusive system design, which is a systematic approach to ensure optimal care. Whereas the "Exclusive" system focuses only on the major Trauma Center, the "Inclusive" system utilizes an all-encompassing approach and emphasizes the need for various levels of trauma centers to cooperate. No one hospital can do everything alone, therefore designation of participating facilities are completed and a classification of either Level I, Level II, Level III or Level IV Trauma Center is given. The classification scheme is NOT a ranking of medical care, but a ranking of resource depth. By knowing when to treat the trauma patient and when to transfer the patient to another facility, all hospitals play an integral part in the trauma system. The matrix is predicated on the fact that more severely injured patients must be congregated at more resource-intensive facility. Commitment to quality care is expected to be the same regardless of the level of resources. Law enforcement officers and/or firefighters are usually the first to respond to the crash scene. They, in turn, must also be aware of the resources available to care for the trauma patient.