Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg filed a letter of intent with the state to open Pinellas County’s second trauma center.
The hospital has treated more heart attack emergencies during the past four years than any other in the county and has the only nationally recognized comprehensive stroke center in Pinellas, according to a statement from Northside.
“We view trauma services as a logical next step in our commitment to the community and plan to submit our application for a Level 2 Trauma Center this spring,” the statement said.
Trauma centers are classified by levels based on the services they provide. For example Level 1 trauma centers must have a trauma surgeon in the hospital at all times. Surgeons at Level 2 trauma centers can be on-call.
The Tampa Bay area has three Level 2 trauma centers at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, St. Joeseph’s Hospital in Tampa and Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson. Tampa General Hospital has the region’s only Level 1 trauma center.
The hospital must apply through the state because Florida has a cap on trauma centers. The deadline to file a formal application is April 1.
“Studies show that preventable deaths can be dramatically reduced for patients who receive trauma care at a Trauma Center,” the hospital’s statement said. “We strongly believe that trauma certification requirements also elevate the overall level of care in a hospital through continuous availability of physician specialists and staff with advanced training.”