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Chippenham Hospital earns provisional Level I Trauma Center status

Updated: Jun. 20, 2019 at 11:09 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - HCA Virginia’s Chippenham Hospital in South Richmond has achieved provisional Level I Trauma Center status, stepping up from Level II.

The certification from the Virginia Department of Health makes Chippenham the second hospital in greater Richmond, in addition to VCU, to achieve the voluntary status to handle the most serious medical emergencies from incidents such as accidents, shootings and disasters.

It was March 19 when a commercial bus rolled over on an off-ramp from I-95 in Prince George. Many of the 57 people on board were injured. Two died.

Chippenham Hospital took in 14 of the seriously injured patients, newly ready for such a mass casualty event.

“We had just opened up our new trauma side and when we did that we had 14 patients roll in," said surgeon and Chippenham Trauma Director Dr. Khaled Basiouny.

For the past year, Chippenham has been adding specialized doctors, nurses and equipment.

“We practice like a drill,” said Basiouny. “It becomes truly like a NASCAR pit crew.”

Dr. William Lunn, CEO of Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals, said Chippenham is now prepared to treat the most critical patients in what’s known as the “magic hour.”

“If you’re severely injured, and you get to a Level I trauma center within that magic first hour, your chances of survival are so much better than if you don’t. What that means for us on this side of the river is that magic hour is more accessible to more patients than ever," said Lunn.

Chippenham received a Level II designation in 2015. Level II requires a hospital be able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients and has similarities to Level I, but not the research and publication requirements. Level III does not require an in-hospital general/trauma surgeon 24-hours a day, but one must be on-call.

One of the big changes Chippenham made made to achieve Level I status was building a new ambulance bay closer to the emergency room.

Basiouny said they can now take in as many as 20 ambulances at a time and transfer patients inside faster. The hospital also added two additional, fully equipped trauma bays.

“When they come in and they’re incredibly sick and they need any intervention at all, we have the ability to do it here, we can open up their chest,” said Basiouny.

The ER added more special equipment as well.

“This can give up to a liter a minute, sometimes double that if we need to, of blood products," Basiouny said of a rapid infuser.

The hospital also has a new decontamination room. “If a patient is in a bad car accident, they’re covered in gasoline,” Basiouny said, "we can rapidly get them in here out of the cold, and we can wash them.

He said their goal is that when tragedies such as the bus crash happen, more lives are saved.

The Virginia Department of Health will re-evaluate Chippenham in one year to determine if it will receive the full Level 1 Trauma designation.

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