HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tripler Army Medical Center already handles emergencies severe enough to be called trauma cases, utilizing lessons learned on the battlefield.
"One hundred percent of our military surgeons have deployed to war and cared for horrific injuries in war," said Lt. Col Kurt Edwards, chief of Tripler's Trauma and Surgical Care.
Soon the hospital known for treating military personnel and dependents will provide low-level trauma care to non-military patients suffering from injuries like blunt force trauma from an auto accident or fall.
It will relieve the pressure on the Queen's Medical Center, Oahu's only civilian trauma center.
"We're talking about a trauma system, not competing trauma centers," said Capt. Ken Kelly, chief of Tripler's Emergency Department.
"The most severely injured patients would still go to Queens, and rightly so. But you just have a few cars get into a pileup, there's a number of patients that need to be evaluated," said Dr. Linda Rosen, who heads the state's Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention Branch.
Tripler will treat trauma patients ambulanced in from Aiea through the leeward coast. They will be cared for, then admitted or transferred to Queens.
"Better to organize our resources, everything from the personnel to physicians to the specialists to sub-specialists, down to who has the high-speed scanners," Kelly said.
"In time of need or excessive disaster, the ability to have everybody work together to provide the support is important," Edwards said.