In the South Sound, trauma care is provided by a unique partnership between MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center and Madigan Army Medical Center called the Tacoma Trauma Center. This collaboration of civilian and military hospitals has provided uninterrupted Level II trauma care for the South Sound since June 21, 2000.
Prior to the Center’s opening, people with severe and life-threatening injuries could not get this level of care in Pierce County; they had to be transported far from home and loved ones. The Tacoma Trauma Center provides local access to high-quality trauma care close to home, saving precious time and lives, and lessening the strain on families in crisis.
While you wouldn't know it from TV portrayals, emergency care and trauma care are not the same. Trauma centers deliver highly specialized services within emergency departments.
Trauma Trust (St. Joseph Medical Center and MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital) and Madigan Army Medical Center represent two of only four Level II trauma programs in the state. This certification means they have the resources to treat multiple, often critical, injuries in a single patient – when life literally hangs in the balance.
“The goal of a trauma team is to do everything humanly possible to keep someone alive for the next 5 to 10 minutes,” said Robert C. Jacoby, MD, Medical Director for the Tacoma Trauma Center. “The chance of survival increases dramatically if we can stabilize the patient within the first hour. This is why it’s known as the ‘Golden Hour.’”
The Tacoma Trauma Center ensures that expert trauma care is available around the clock throughout the South Puget Sound.
Trauma-care duty rotates every 24 hours between St. Joseph Medical Center and Tacoma General. Madigan provides trauma services all the time to serve military personnel and, as needed, to treat injured civilians.
The trauma centers at St. Joseph, Tacoma General and Madigan are designated as Level II programs by the Washington State Department of Health. The Level II designation shared by Tacoma General and St. Joseph means each hospital has a trauma surgeon on site when the facility is on trauma duty, and that cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, neurosurgeons and other medical specialists can respond with 20 minutes of being called.
After Tacoma Trauma Center patients are treated and released from the hospital, they are provided appropriate outpatient care locally as part of our program’s commitment to excellence and to the well-being of our patients.