A multi-year journey to bring a major trauma center to the Rio Grande Valley is now complete, as Valley Baptist Medical Center– Harlingen (VBMC-H) in Harlingen, Texas, recently received designation as a Level II Trauma Center by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“With this designation, we will be able to lead the way to improve trauma care in south Texas,” said Manny Vela, CEO of Valley Baptist Health System. “Becoming the Valley’s first major trauma facility is part of our mission to provide services that allow patients in our community who need medical care to remain close to home.”
The effort started with Dr. Ruben Lopez, a cardiac and trauma surgeon who passed away in 2015. From there, the trauma team was determined to achieve the goal. “Our administration and trauma team really embraced the important goal of becoming a major trauma facility, and it has been a team effort from the start,” said Dr. Hillary Chollet, VBMC-H trauma medical director. “We are also thankful for support from emergency medical services (EMS) and the Trauma Regional Advisory Council. Time and time again, EMS men and women have proven themselves to be a special group of people who played an important role in this achievement. They and other pre-hospital providers, such as police and fire departments, deserve our heartfelt thanks.”
A Major Level II Trauma Center brings together a number of resources that benefit trauma patients, including in-house trauma/critical care surgeons available 24/7, as well as a full team of specialists from ICU, orthopedics, neurosurgery, radiology, emergency medicine and other specialties. “We’ll be better able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients,” said Ernie DeLeon, RN, trauma program manager at the hospital.
VBMC-H is one of 14 Tenet hospitals with a designated Level I or Level II Trauma Center.