WellStar Kennestone receives approval to offer trauma care
by Katy Ruth Camp
krcamp@mdjonline.com
November 08, 2011 01:09 AM | 4878 views | 4 4 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, WellStar Kennestone Hospital staff nurses Jamie Van Ness, Kimberlee Engle, Kathie L. Hamby and Gina Mappes are certified trauma nurses for the Marietta hospital. <br> Photo by Laura Moon
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MARIETTA — WellStar Health System received approval from the state late Friday to offer level II trauma care at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta effective immediately, spokesman Keith Bowermaster announced Monday.

The designation by the Georgia Department of Public Health was the first for any WellStar hospital and makes WellStar Kennestone the only facility in its primary service area of Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Douglas and Paulding Counties to be approved as an official trauma center, Bowermaster said. Before the designation, the closest trauma centers to Cobb were at Atlanta Medical Center and Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta, North Fulton Hospital in Roswell and Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, said Pat Mayne, WellStar vice president for emergency, surgical and trauma.

“Our mission is to provide world-class health care, and as we looked at the communities we service, one of the voids was high-quality trauma care,” Mayne said. “Most trauma transports are by ground, and the sooner a patient can be treated, their survival rate then becomes much higher. Being close to home is very important because adding 15 minutes, even from the site of the accident, can be critical.”

The designation comes after nearly two years of planning, implementation of a formal model for trauma care and the hiring of key physicians and support staff, Bowermaster said. Mayne said 40 emergency room nurses on staff at WellStar Kennestone have received training specific to trauma care, and WellStar has thus far hired three full-time trauma surgeons and a trauma program manager.

Manager Laura Garlow said Kennestone was open for trauma care as soon as WellStar received its designation.

Mayne said that although Kennestone has already been offering emergency services, patients with life-threatening injuries are sent to hospitals that have surgeons and staff members trained and prepared to care specifically for trauma patients. Mayne said many trauma patients have fallen from a high distance or are the victims of serious car crashes or violence.

“With our trauma center, we will provide a trauma surgeon in-house, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, who is trained to care for patients in these special circumstances,” Mayne said. “Studies show that the same patient going to a nontrauma center is 25 percent more likely to die than one who has been sent to a trauma center because it doesn’t have the same resources.”

Trauma center designations range from level IV to level I, depending on the amount of training the staff has received and the services each center provides. Mayne said a level II center like WellStar Kennestone’s provides the same amount of care and resources as a level I center, with the only exception being that level I centers are typically associated with academic teaching facilities and are required to provide research through the center.

Bowermaster said Kennestone, located at 677 Church St. in Marietta, is already an accredited chest pain and stroke center and that its emergency department of three trauma rooms and 63 exam rooms is one of the busiest in the state. Last fiscal year, WellStar’s four emergency departments at WellStar Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone and Paulding hospitals had 306,346 patient visits and served more adult patients than anyone else in the state, Bowermaster said.
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RE: juliay
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November 09, 2011
I used to work in the Kennestone ER and only left because I am now in medical school. First of all, every ER doc and most of the nurses I knew there are American born and raised and speak English. The bigger problem is having enough translators for all of the PATIENTS who do not speak English. Secondly, yes, trauma centers must have staff on hand available for trauma. The hospital is ONLY approved as a trauma center if they can do this, obviously Kennestone achieved this. Thirdly, yes Kennestone often has a long wait time in the ER. This is because it is one of the only major hospitals serving the northwest area of Georgia that provides top-notch care and specialists. As a side note, if you are on of the patients spending a long time in the ER, you should be thankful. This means whatever condition you have is much less life threatening. Yes, you may be in excruciating pain from passing a kidney stone, however, the man next to you having a massive myocardial infarction may die if he does not make it to the cardiac cath lab in less than 30 minutes. So who do you think the physician will prioritize? Patients come first and those that are sickest must be treated first. Kennestone is THE busiest ER in the state, even busier than Grady. So if you cut your finger dicing onion for dinner and need one stitch, go to a Wellstar urgent care. The ER is meant for REAL emergencies.
juliay
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November 08, 2011
Did you hire staff that spoke ENGLISH? One of the worst hosp in Cobb County.It makes me very nervous that Kennestone is a Trauma hosp.You know that if you are a trauma hosp your to have the staff in hosp and not wait for hours for care.This will be a win win for the hosp lawyers.Watch out Cobb County you are in danger with this hosp being a trauma hosp.
anonymous
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November 08, 2011
Driving past a hospital while needing trauma II care, that makes sense doesn't it.ANYWAYS MOVING ON!!!

Congrats Wellstar on another achievement. I was given care at a perimeter location. Scared me to death they do not have 2 patient id as part of their care giver policy. They marked my husband's blood work with person who was not him. I wish we could had been treated at Wellstar at that moment.
Good thing
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November 08, 2011
Good thing Atlanta Medical Center recently upgraded to a Level I trauma designation. Makes it easy to justify driving past Kennestone for better care.
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