Unless you possess a good deal of clinical knowledge, one hospital in Kew Gardens may appear to be the exact same as the next. Sure, some are larger or smaller than others, yet for the most part, you likely expect to receive the same level of care at any of them. However, hospitals and medical centers are actually categorized by the type or care that they are designed to accommodate. Understanding what care is available at what facility could very well influence your decision on where to seek treatment.
The American Trauma Society assigns a trauma center designation to hospitals based on state or local government guidelines. The rankings are categorized in descending order from five to one. Those categories (along with their general ranking criteria) are listed below:
- Level V: Ability to provide initial evaluation, diagnostic and/or stabilization services in preparation for transporting a patient to another facility
- Level IV: Demonstrated ability to provide advanced trauma life support before transferring patients to a trauma center with a higher level ranking
- Level III: Ability to provide prompt assessments, stabilization, resuscitation and intensive care services, as well as emergency operations and general surgery
- Level II: Ability to provide definitive care to all categories of patients
- Level I: Ability to provide comprehensive care for every aspect of an injury, as well as being a regional resource in care, research, training and public education to surrounding regions
You might assume that the providers at a hospital are authorized to handle any cases despite their categorization in an emergency situation. Yet a facility’s resources may prevent it from safely doing so. If it is not designated to provide the care you need, its providers are to only stabilize you so that you can be transferred.