E-T Staff Report

The Texas Department of State Health Services’ recently re-designated Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville as a Level IV Trauma Center, the only trauma-designated facility in Erath County. The designation is reviewed every three years.

Trauma is the leading cause of death for people up to age 44 years old and represents an estimated $5.6 billion in lost lifetime income potential, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Being a Level IV Trauma Designated facility enables Texas Health Stephenville to treat seriously injured patients, stabilize them and then transport the patient to a trauma center that handles higher acuity cases if needed.

“We strive to be the first place anyone in the surrounding area considers for care,” said Donna Steen, RN, chief nurse executive at Texas Health Stephenville. “In an emergency, such as an injury, stroke or heart attack, minutes matter and Texas Health Stephenville is a close and convenient choice. One of the benefits of being part of a larger health care system is that we can see any emergency patient and, when necessary, draw on the resources of other hospitals in our system.”

“Our trauma designation is one more way we provide quality health care services to Stephenville and the surrounding counties,” said hospital president Christopher Leu. “While we provide education throughout the community to help lower the incidence of injuries, we realize that accidents happen and are proud to be able to provide care for seriously injured patients when necessary.”

To earn the designation, the hospital must have the necessary equipment and resources for trauma cases. Hospital staff must constantly review trauma cases, which enables staff to provide care based on the best practices of trauma centers across the country. Also, the hospital must staff radiology, surgery and other departments to immediately treat trauma patients. Doctors and nurses must pass advanced trauma classes to provide patients with the latest procedures. The designation effort was a result of the 1989 Omnibus Rural Health Care Rescue Act, passed by the Texas legislature.