SCVMC’s Trauma Turns 30

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s mission has been to “provide care to the ill and injured of Santa Clara County” since it was founded in 1886. This is in...
Joy Alexiou /PIO Santa Clara

Joy Alexiou /PIO Santa Clara

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s mission has been to “provide care to the ill and injured of Santa Clara County” since it was founded in 1886. This is in compliance with the California Administrative Code where statutory authority of the Board of Supervisors responsibility to provide care for the indigent may be found. Over time, SCVMC has adapted and implemented many developments of medical knowledge and its applied technologies. It was 30 years ago, February 1986 that the hospital was officially designated a Level 1 Trauma Center.

It was a few years earlier that Mrs. Ernestina Garcia, President, Confederacion de la Raza Unida, (an East San Jose advocacy CBO/NGO),  petitioned the Board of Supervisors to adopt an ‘open door policy’ for the SCVMC’s Emergency Room (ER) and Trauma Center. This ‘open door policy’ ensures that an emergent patient receives needed medical care without that being delayed by dealing with ‘ability to pay’ issues. Today, the County of Santa Clara may be very proud that its ER and Trauma Center are the only ones  in the entire San Francisco Bay Area with such an ‘open door policy’. The BOS accepted and approved that petition by Ernestina Garcia. Many individuals needing urgent medical attention have benefitted form this ‘open door policy’.

There were a total of 9 patients the first night at the new trauma center, with 6 of them from car crashes. Today, the Trauma Center responds to as many as 20 trauma cases during a 24 hour period.

“I was working at SCVMC when we were first designated as a trauma center and I’ve seen many changes over the years,” commented Dr. John Sherck, trauma surgeon and former trauma director. “One thing that has not changed is the expertise and quality of our staff and their dedication to provide urgent medical care services.”

“We save lives; that’s what we do,” said Dr. Adella Garland, Medical Director, SCVMC Trauma Center. “Because of the range of (essential supportive) services and specialty care this hospital provides, we also help patients realize the best outcomes possible.”

Today, the Trauma Center has state-of-art technology to treat the most complex cases. From using advanced diagnostic imaging to accessing electronic medical records to innovative internal communications, technology supports SCVMC medical professionals (by providing all manner of therapeutic & rehabilitation services needed by patients.)

SCVMC was ahead of the national curve when it opened its trauma center in February, 1986. Since 1988 the number of (medical centers) having trauma centers with supportive systems expanded from 2 to 35. Many studies have shown the value of trauma systems improving patient outcomes and reducing  avoidable disability and death.

SCVMC’s Trauma Center is equipped and staffed 24/7/365 to provide immediate care for patients suffering from life-threatening traumatic injuries. In United States, a certified trauma center meets specific criteria established by the American College of Surgeons. Periodic site review verify compliance with established standards of service. Trauma centers vary in their capabilities and are identified by “Level” designation: Level-I (Level-1) being the highest, to Level-IV (Level-4) being the lowest. The Trauma Center at SCVMC is designated a Level 1 center.  SCVMC is truly a center of excellence dedicated to ‘state of the art’ health care.

“Employees are an organization’s greatest asset. Our Trauma Center’s doctors, nurses and support staff demonstrate excellence and dedication every single day,” stated Paul Lorenz, CEO, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “I am proud of the services they provide and congratulate them on this momentous anniversary.”

Level I trauma centers have immediate access to specialist medical and nursing care including emergency medicine, trauma surgery, critical care, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, pediatrics, radiology, blood bank and clinical chemistry laboratory services. SCVMC’sTrauma Center also has access to specialty services for burn injury, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. This hospital is also equipped with a helicopter landing pad on its roof with direct elevator access to its ER and trauma center.