BEMIDJI — The Minnesota Department of Health recently designated Sanford Bemidji Medical Center as a level 3 trauma hospital.

Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and staff voluntarily participated in the intense designation process to become part of Minnesota’s statewide trauma system.

The process included an outside review of the hospital’s resources and capabilities to care for trauma patients. Sanford Bemidji Medical Center met standards of commitment, clinical and equipment resources and staff training. The hospital also participates in a continuous performance improvement process.

“We are pleased with the department of health’s decision to appoint Sanford Bemidji Medical Center as a level 3 trauma hospital,” said Renee Axtman, executive director of operations for the emergency department at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. “With this new designation, we look forward to expanding our local trauma care ensuring our friends, family and neighbors have immediate care when they need it most.”

For a severely injured person, the time between sustaining an injury and receiving definitive care is the most important predictor of survival — the “golden hour.” The chance of survival diminishes with time; however, a trauma system enhances the chance of survival regardless of proximity to an urban trauma hospital.

“Trauma is the third leading cause of death in Minnesota,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “The goal of the trauma system is to decrease injured patients’ time to care by making sure their medical needs are appropriately matched with hospital resources. With the designation of Sanford Bemidji as a level 3 level trauma hospital, we are getting closer to our goal of ensuring that seriously injured Minnesotans have access to an organized system of trauma care wherever they are in the state.”

On average, trauma claims the lives of 2,400 Minnesotans annually. States with trauma systems have seen survival rates increase by 15 to 20 percent. Wide-scale participation in the voluntary trauma system ensures that a statewide, cooperative effort is in place to care for seriously injured patients.

Through its designation, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center recognizes the vital role that communities, ambulance services, hospitals and health care professionals play in the care and management of trauma patients.

For more information, see the Minnesota Statewide Trauma System site at https://www.health.state.mn.us/facilities/traumasystem/

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