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LANDSTUHL, Germany — Landstuhl Regional Medical Center has become the only hospital outside the U.S. designated a Level II trauma center by the American College of Surgeons.

The designation means the hospital, which has seen more than 42,000 troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, must follow tough standards in everything from tracking patients to receiving patients and documenting medical care.

The majority of patients from Iraq and Afghanistan treated at Landstuhl suffer nonbattle injuries.

The Level II trauma center certification symbolizes a commitment to excellence in how the hospital takes care of wounded warriors, Landstuhl commander Col. Brian Lein said.

“What it means for the patient is that we have to meet the same certification standards, the same care standards of every Level II hospital in the United States,” he said.

The hospital established trauma standards, and must continually assess those standards and demonstrate to outside inspection agencies that it is meeting or exceeding those standards, Lein said.

According to the American College of Surgeons, a Level II trauma center is a hospital that is expected to provide initial definitive trauma care, regardless of the severity of injury. Depending on location, patient volume, personnel and resources, the Level II trauma center may not be able to provide the same comprehensive care as a Level I trauma center.

Wounded servicemembers requiring intensive care unit treatment usually stay at Landstuhl for three to five days before being transported to the States.

Landstuhl gained the certification last month, and it will be valid for three years.

According to a Landstuhl news release, the goal of quality service drove the effort to achieve Level II verification, said Kathleen Martin, the trauma program nurse director at Landstuhl. Level II certification is linked to improved performance and enhanced patient outcomes, she said.

“Hospitals that have committed the resources to achieve Level II verification have shown a statistically significant decrease in morbidity and mortality,” Martin said in the press release.

The military looks at mortality rates once the wounded make it to a Combat Support Hospital or beyond.

“That number is exceedingly low,” Lein said. “We’re talking one to two a month for the last multiple, multiple months. Our numbers are incredibly low.”

Lein attributed the military’s low mortality rate in part to the front-line care wounded are receiving from their buddies and medics.


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