Trauma FAQs

What is trauma?

Trauma is any injury caused by a physical force, most often from motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, gunshots, fires, burns, stabbing, or blunt impact. Unintended injury is the fifth-leading cause of death in the US.

What is a Trauma Center?

Trauma Centers are designated by county emergency medical services. Designation assures comprehensive services, and allows critically injured patients from throughout the region to be transported directly to our facility, which has specialists available around the clock. The American College of Surgeons developed the standards used in the California Trauma Care system.

Cottage’s Trauma Center has three levels of response, depending on the type and number of injuries involved:

  • Tier I responds to injuries or conditions that are severe with high probability for the need for immediate surgical intervention.
  • Tier II injuries are less severe, but may require surgery within an hour.
  • Tier III injuries have a low probability of requiring surgery.

What is the difference between a Trauma Center and an Emergency Department?

The Trauma Service treats severely injured patients. The Emergency Department treats a broad range of medical emergencies, including heart attacks, chest pain, asthma, minor cuts, sprains, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Patients with serious injury or illness are transferred to a specialty service within the hospital, such as Intensive Care or Cardiac Care. 

A Level II Trauma Center has a full range of specialists and equipment available 24-hours a day, including general surgery, neurosurgery, and orthopedic services. Trauma Care follows a progression that usually includes: pre-hospital care, resuscitation, operative care, critical care, acute recovery, discharge planning and rehabilitation, long-term follow-up, and functional recovery.