UTMB reclaims Level One trauma center title

March 25, 2011 8:19:03 PM PDT
UTMB in Galveston is officially a Level One trauma center again. It lost the certification after being damaged by Hurricane Ike in September 2008.

It is the only Level One trauma center in Galveston County, a distinction that's been nearly three years in the making.

"There was 11 months when we were closed, closed," UTMB Director of Emergency Medicine Bill Mileski said.

In one day, Hurricane Ike washed away UTMB's 10-year Level One trauma center status. The hospital closed, reopening in 2009 and had to start from scratch for re-designation.

"A trauma center is an entire institutional commitment; you have to have everything you can't just have this one building, the emergency department," Mileski said.

Besides 24-hour availability of specialty care and surgical teams, UTMB also provides research and educational programs. All are required to be designated Level One.

"Where we gonna go? What we gonna do? Because this is so close," said Regina Mott, wife of a Richard Mott, a patient at of the hospital.

The Motts had to go to Houston for care when UTMB closed. And when they needed care, they were grateful to get the help so close to home.

"It means a lot to me; it's a good safe, thing to have a professional staff and it makes me feel good," UTMB patient Richard Mott said.

Being re-designated as a Level One trauma center is considered a full recovery for UTMB.

Besides UTMB, there are two other Level One trauma centers that both in Houston, Memorial Hermann and Ben Taub General Hospital.