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Date Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Date Updated: Friday, June 30, 2023

As Trauma Cases Reach Record Levels, Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Receive Level I Trauma Center Reverification for Adults and Children

Trauma Cases Continue to Rise after Pandemic Lockdown; Falls Top Reason for Trauma Admissions

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (April 27, 2022) – Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital will continue to be lifesaving resources for trauma victims with the recent reverification of the hospitals' Level I adult and pediatric trauma designations by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The reverifications come at a crucial time as trauma cases have risen steadily at the hospitals for the past three years with a notable spike in the summer of 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown was lifted. 

A Level I designation is the highest trauma status awarded by the ACS, which ranks the Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital trauma programs in the top 10% nationally for patient outcomes*. Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital are the only ACS-verified Level I trauma care programs in New York State north of New York City to Albany and west to Syracuse. As such, Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital serve as both referral centers for other hospitals and lifelines for families.

Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital earn Level I Trauma Center reverification

Kartik Prabhakaran, MD, Westchester Medical Center's Trauma Medical Director, said, "For decades, Westchester Medical Center has been the referral center of choice for the most complex traumas, cases other healthcare providers in our region are just not capable of handling, or don't handle in large enough numbers to acquire such a meaningful designation. This is an important milestone for the millions of people that count on us during their most vulnerable and unexpected moments." 

"Level I pediatric trauma status is proof positive of our ability to care for the most severely injured children," explained Dylan Stewart, MD, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital's Pediatric Trauma Medical Director. "Dedicated pediatric trauma bays, operating rooms, a pediatric emergency department and an imaging center, and a commitment to family-centered care make our hospital a self-contained resource for complex – and routine – pediatric trauma care."  

Trends in Trauma: Record Case Numbers
The Level I trauma care designations for Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital are especially meaningful as trauma cases at both hospitals have reached record numbers since the initial case wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr. Prabhakaran Westchester Medical Center evaluated and treated more than 5,000 adult trauma patients in 2021, the most in the hospital's long history of trauma care, with more than 2,000 individuals injured seriously enough to require hospital admission, including 723 admitted to Westchester Medical Center's Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU).

Injuries sustained from falls are, by far, the leading cause of TICU admissions at Westchester Medical Center: 

  1. Falls (1,098 admissions) 
  2. Motor vehicle crashes (374)
  3. Motorcycle accidents (106)
  4. Assaults (88)
  5. Pedestrians struck by motor vehicles (84) 

To address the growing trend of fall-related injuries Westchester Medical Center is providing educational resources to all patients admitted with fall-related injuries with sustained medical follow-up well after discharge. The goal: to reduce readmissions due to injuries sustained because of subsequent falls.

"Our fall-prevention program has received commendation by both New York State and the American College of Surgeons as it engages both patients and their support systems," explained Dr. Prabhakaran.

ACS Verification Indicator of Quality
In New York State, trauma centers are assessed and undergo an extensive review process every three years by the ACS to earn and keep a trauma service designation. Criteria for Level I trauma verification status includes care capabilities, reporting academic research, outreach and injury prevention efforts.  

In addition to Westchester Medical Center and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, WMCHealth's MidHudson Regional Hospital is an ACS-verified Level II trauma center. WMCHealth trauma care specialists are also available to colleagues at other WMCHealth hospitals for trauma consultation via telemedicine services. 

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. The Network Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region's only acute care children's hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State. Today, WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit WMCHealth.org.


*Trauma Quality Improvement Program of the American College of Surgeons Fall 2021 Benchmark Report