The Trauma Center at UofL Hospital has a long-standing history of being the local, regional and national leader for trauma and burn care in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Last year alone, our trauma center provided care for over 3,600 patients who needed the highly-specialized services of our multi-disciplinary Trauma Program. We are the region’s only American College of Surgeons (ACS) verified Level I Trauma Center for adults and we are one of only two Level I adult trauma centers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Additionally, we are the region’s only Level 1 burn unit.
An ACS-Verified Level I Trauma Center means that the institution has achieved the highest level of verification to deliver care to the most severely injured patients who need it most. It means that we are equipped to handle any and all significant injuries in our state-of-the-art facility. We are staffed with an experienced and dedicated team of professionals who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for trusting us with your patients and for supporting our program. We realize that we cannot be a Trauma Center without the hard work and dedication of many individuals outside of our organization. Our regional partners, referring hospitals and pre-hospital providers are critical in our mission of providing the best available care to those in our community.
The Level I Trauma Center at UofL Hospital has provided trauma care for more than 100 years. Able to handle any emergent situation, the Trauma Center is capable of treating patients simultaneously by utilizing:
- 43 patient bays
- 20 trauma/surgical ICU beds
- 16 burn beds
- 6 stroke beds
- 50 critical care beds
UofL Hospital treats more than 3,600 trauma and burns patients annually; over 50 percent of those patients reside in counties outside Jefferson County and its bordering counties. The number of patients seen outside the Louisville area makes the UofL Hospital Trauma Center a critical local, regional and statewide resource.
- 2021-2022 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2020 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2019 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2018 Trauma Center Annual Report
- 2017 Trauma Center Annual Report
As the area’s only Level I Trauma Center, no other facility in the region has the staff, resources and technology to manage the complex medical care a seriously injured patient can require at a moment’s notice. The Emergency Department provides a multidisciplinary approach to deliver optimal care for trauma emergencies.
The Emergency Department is staffed with a team of faculty, emergency medicine residents, physician assistants and specialty-trained nursing staff that provides emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are also the area’s only decontamination facility for chemical and biological decontamination of individuals exposed to hazardous materials.
UofL Hospital has two trauma surgical intensive care units (ICU) specializing in caring for the most critically ill and injured patients. By working as a team, their mission is to provide compassionate and evidence-based care to patients and families who have endured a traumatic injury. Each trauma ICU has been recognized by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) with the Silver Beacon Award for Nursing Excellence.
The trauma nurse practitioners are an integral and valuable part of the UofL Hospital’s Trauma Team. We have four trauma nurse practitioners that work collaboratively with the attending physicians and surgical residents to ensure continuity of care to our trauma patients. They work closely with the case managers and social workers to help coordinate the discharge process.
During their daily patient rounding, they:
- Perform medical procedures
- Monitor patients’ progress
- Assist in wound care
- Provide patient and family education
Outreach and Education
Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) - this course teaches how to assess a patient’s condition, resuscitate and stabilize the patient and determine if a patient’s needs exceed a facility’s capacity. It also covers how to arrange for a patient’s inter-hospital transfer and ensure that optimum care is provided throughout the process. UofL Hospital provides a cadaver lab for the surgical skills portion of the class which has been extremely well received.
Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS) - provides guidelines in the assessment and management of burn patients from the scene of the burn injury through the first 24 hours after injury. The courses are open to MDs, RNs, LPNs, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, therapists and paramedics, fire service and other emergency care personnel.
TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course) – Emergency Nurses Association developed this course to establish a standardized body of trauma nursing knowledge. It combines interactive learning with scenario-based assessments to give nurses a comprehensive learning experience.
RTTDC (Rural Trauma Team Development Course) – this course emphasizes a team approach to the initial evaluation and resuscitation of the trauma patient at a rural facility. With more than 60 percent of the country’s trauma deaths occurring in rural areas, the course assists rural health care professionals in determining the need to transfer the patient to a higher level of care. The intended audience includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pre-hospital personnel, technicians and administrative support personnel.
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UofL Hospital Re-Verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons
UofL Hospital’s Trauma Center is verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the Verification Review Committee (VRC), an ad hoc committee of the Committee on Trauma (COT) of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes University Hospital’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients. Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the COT’s Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.
Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual.
The ACS Committee on Trauma’s verification program does not designate trauma centers. Rather, the program provides confirmation that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. The actual establishment and the designation of trauma centers is the function of local, regional, or state health care systems agencies.
Research to Improve Patient Care
Our Trauma Center is always looking to improve outcomes using evidence-based practices. These best practices are the results of identifying areas of research or performance improvement from direct patient care experiences. Many of our performance improvement projects develop into research studies that will ultimately improve patient outcomes. This collaborative research project has been selected for poster presentation at the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma’s Annual Meeting.
Patients who undergo splenectomies during trauma care are at life-long risk for developing episodes of rapidly progressive septicemia, known as overwhelming post-splenectomy sepsis (OPSS). In an effort to reduce these risks, splenectomy patients are recommended to receive vaccinations against pneumococci, meningococci, Haemophilus influenzae type b and influenza virus. Patients should also be placed on an appropriate re-vaccination schedule and be educated regarding the importance of fever or infectious symptoms given their asplenia. Patients at UofL Hospital are routinely administered vaccines prior to discharge and provided with appropriate education regarding the risks of post-splenectomy infection. This includes a formal conversation from a trauma practitioner, as well as written information provided at discharge. However, since most patients do not follow up with their trauma providers beyond their initial period of injury convalescence, little is known about compliance in regards to post-splenectomy risk reduction over time. Despite uniform education prior to discharge, most patients undergoing splenectomy for trauma at our institution were unaware of the risks of OPSS and did not follow our recommended guidelines for risk reduction. Though OPSS is rare, it carries significant mortality. Further research targeting methods to improve compliance with recommendations is indicated.
Celebrating over 100 years of service to our community: 1911-2017
1911: Louisville City Hospital starts accident service, representing the first designation in the country of a service whose primary mission was the care of patients with injuries and fractures
1938: Dr. R. Arnold Griswold was named Chair of the Department of Surgery and later invented an innovative device for fracture reduction – the “Griswold Machine.” Dr. Griswold also worked with the Louisville Police Department to make station wagon cars available for transport of the injured.
1942: Louisville City Hospital changes name to Louisville General Hospital
1953: Louisville General Hospital treats four victims from Louisville’s first serious airplane crash at Standiford Field. Of the 41 people on board, 25 die.
1982: University Hospital named Level 1 Trauma Center
1989: Trauma Center treats 13 gunshot victims of (then) worst workplace shooting in U.S. history that took place at Standard Gravure
1999: Emergency Department’s $13 million expansion completed, more than doubling its size. “Room 9” is remodeled, a dedicated room used to treat critically ill trauma patients.
2000: University Hospital’s Emergency Department featured on an episode of TLC’s Trauma, Life in the ER
2004: Jockey Tony D’Amico was treated in Trauma Center after being seriously injured in Nov. 3 race at Churchill Downs. The 49-year-old rider suffered a fractured left collarbone, four fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
2006: Full renovation of Burn Unit (region’s only adult burn unit) completed. The new unit features five ICU treatment beds and a hydrotherapy tub.
2015: Successful Level I trauma re-verification visit from the American College of Surgeons
2016: Trauma Program Social Workers added to the Trauma Center team
2017: Stop the Bleed featured as a national outreach program
2017: Implemented Pivot to Peace Intervention Network, providing resources to patients who have been hospitalized due to a violent injury.
2018: Successful Level 1 trauma re-verification visit from the American College of Surgeons.
2018: Opened newly expanded and renovated, 16-bed Burn Center.
Violence Prevention and Intervention
Pivot to Peace Intervention Network
UofL Hospital is part of Pivot to Peace, a community network dedicated to reducing violence in our city. Our Community Health Workers and trauma Social Workers support patients who have been hospitalized due to a violent injury and their families.
Through the Pivot to Peace Intervention Network, we can provide resources during and beyond hospitalization for your specific needs, including:
- Post-discharge follow-up
- Case management
- Art therapy
- Job placement
- Educational opportunities
- Housing and utility supports
We are committed to working with you and your family to find the connections you need to stay safe and move forward with your life.
Future Healers aims to build stronger bridges between the Louisville health care community and our city’s youth most impacted by gun violence. Youth ages 4-14 are offered monthly educational and mentorship sessions that support their learning, health, and relationship building. Future Healers is a partnership between UofL Health, Christopher 2X Game Changers, the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Student National Medical Association, and the Chestnut Street YMCA. Read more: https://UofLHealth.org/Future-Healers
Motivated Individuals Navigating Trauma (MINT)
MINT is an initiative to support survivors of gun violence as they re-enter the community by providing therapeutic supports, creative social events, and relationship building with fellow survivors. The group meets monthly for conversation, food, and activities.
Vision Zero Network
UofL Hospital is part of the Louisville Metro Government’s Vision Zero Network, a community network that works towards the goal of zero deaths or serious injury on Metro roads. This group works to collect and report data about crashes in Louisville, prioritize infrastructure improvements, and collective advocacy.
Victim Impact Panels
UofL Hospital partners with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to host regular Victim Impact Panels. These classes are offered to community members as an educational resource, fostering empathy and understanding of the risks and tragedies of impaired driving crashes, leading to lasting changes in behavior, preventing future offenses and offering various recovery resources.
Questions? Please contact:
Clinical Trial Notice
Dr. Brian Harbrecht, Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery at UofL and Director of Trauma Surgery at UofL Hospital, and Dr. Raymond Orthober, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of Louisville Metro EMS, will lead UofL's participation in a Department of Defense (DOD)-funded clinical trial aimed at improving survival among people who have difficulty breathing after a trauma.
UofL will join nearly two dozen emergency medical service agencies across the country in the prehospital Airway Control Trial (PACT), which is an $8.8 million, four-year study, beginning at the end of 2019 that will test different strategies to help patients breathe at the scene of trauma to see if one works better than another at increasing survival.
This is an “exception from informed consent” trial, which means that since the trial requires performing a potentially life-saving procedure in traumatically injured patients who are too injured to give consent to the trial, they will be automatically enrolled if they fit the criteria. Once patients are stable, they and/or their families will be notified that they were enrolled, and they can opt out of continued participation at that point. Learn more at https://www.LitesNetwork.org/Pact-Efic.