SARASOTA — Sarasota Memorial Hospital, as of July 1, is officially a Level II Trauma Center.
The hospital system, which received final approval from the Florida Department of Health, is now the only trauma program in Sarasota County, according to a statement. The trauma designation means critically injured patients in Sarasota County can be transported to SMH, rather than a trauma center in another community, the release adds. “Earning trauma designation was a tremendous effort that required extraordinary passion, expertise and a highly specialized team to respond around-the-clock to any critical situation,” Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder says in a statement.
The trauma program is a $16 million investment over three years, according to the release. It includes specially equipped trauma bays, operating rooms, a trauma intensive care unit, a trauma step-down unit and several specialty-nursing units. The hospital also hired eight trauma surgeons and two orthopedic traumatologists, as well as emergency physicians, subspecialists, trauma and intensive care nurses and rehabilitation specialists.
The process to gain trauma center approvals goes back to early 2015, when the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board approved the project. SMH received provisional approval from the state to open the new trauma center in May 2015, and has since treated more than 2,000 injured patients. To earn full seven-year verification it had to comply with a rigorous set of standards from the health department.