By Elaine Sanchez, Brooke Army Medical CenterJanuary 29, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center has again been verified as a Level I trauma center by the American College of Surgeons for its dedication to providing top-quality care for critically injured patients.
"This accomplishment reaffirms our ongoing commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for our civilian and military patients," said BAMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson. "It's also a testament to our trauma staff's teamwork, professionalism and expertise."
Hospitals seeking verification must undergo intense scrutiny by reviewers from the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma every three years. To be verified, the hospital must demonstrate its ability to provide a broad spectrum of trauma care resources to address the needs of all injured patients.
"We are fortunate to have incredible teams of trauma surgeons and supporting specialists at BAMC," said Army Col. Bret Ackermann, Deputy Commander for Surgical Services. BAMC's "team of teams" includes orthopedic, cardiothoracic, vascular, otolaryngology, oral and maxillofacial, plastic, and neurologic surgeons, in addition to anesthesia, emergency medicine, internal medicine, infectious disease, critical care, pulmonology, physical therapy, neurology, rehabilitation, radiology, nursing and operative technician teams.
BAMC is the only Level I trauma center within the Department of Defense and one of two Level 1 trauma centers within San Antonio. Alongside University Health System, BAMC administers lifesaving care to more than 4,000 trauma patients each year, including 750 burn patients, from an area that stretches across 22 counties in Southwest Texas and encompasses 2.2 million people.
Of the over 4,000 trauma patients admitted each year, 85 percent are community members without military affiliation. Johnson cited the recent Sutherland Springs church shooting as an example of BAMC's readiness to provide care. Eight patients from the shooting were cared for at BAMC with wounds similar to those sustained in war.
"Due to our daily trauma mission and the experience we've garnered downrange, we were ready when needed and honored to provide care," the commander said.
The trauma center is not only an asset within the community, but is "absolutely critical" to military medical readiness, Johnson said. "There is no other place within the DoD that has the volume of trauma in their hospital to accomplish our wartime training and sustainment of health professionals' mission," he said.
This readiness enables BAMC professionals to respond quickly and efficiently when called upon, whether here in San Antonio or deployed overseas, he said.
"What we do here ensures our medical personnel are ready to do what's needed to save a life whether stateside or downrange for full scale military operations or humanitarian assistance," Johnson said. "This is who we are and what we do."