Karolinska University Hospital becomes Sweden’s first trauma centre

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Karolinska University Hospital, Region Västmanland and Region Sörmland are increasing their mutual collaboration with regard to caring for trauma patients, and to education and research in this area.

The collaboration applies to both adults and children, support in the care of the seriously injured at their local hospital or where there is a need for transportation, and continued care where the expertise and resources of Karolinska are of crucial importance to life.

Karolinska already collaborates with emergency hospitals in Stockholm and with Region Gotland in the area of trauma patients. Agreements have now been reached with Region Västmanland and Region Sörmland for patients with multiple or very serious injuries. This means that the combined catchment area for Karolinska's trauma centre will cover almost 3 million people, which makes it equivalent in size to other major international trauma centres. Several studies have shown that concentrating the complicated care in one single trauma centre has great benefits, both for survival rates and for the quality of life.

Bo Tideholm, divisional manager at Region Sörmland, and Martin Andersson, assistant director of Västerås Hospital, are both very satisfied with the agreement. The regions were already working together with Karolinska with regard to the care of patients with major trauma, for example as a result of car accidents. This partnership has now been formalised.

"This will further improve the care we are able to provide for the Region's patients, not only due to guaranteed access to Karolinska's highly specialised resources but also as a result of the opportunity for the more structured training of our employees", explains Bo Tideholm.

Karolinska's trauma centre provides training in medical trauma care and disaster medicine for the whole of Sweden.

"Hospitals in these regions will be included in the educational network we have built up. They will also be able to participate in our regular telemedicine conferences, where specialists review the status of all trauma patients who are being cared for at our hospitals. If they should require swift advice, they can contact us by telephone or by following a link", says Lennart Adamsson, who is the head of department.

In accordance with the American standard, Karolinska's trauma centre is classified as Level 1. To fulfil the criteria, the hospital must guarantee the complete care of seriously injured patients 24 hours a day. Among other things, this means that specialists from within a range of areas must be available around the clock, 7 days a week.

"The level of treatment results achieved following care provided by us is equivalent to that of other major international trauma centres, which is a source of great pride for us", says Lennart Adamsson.

Karolinska's section for the seriously injured consists of three trauma rooms, two CTs and four operating theatres – one of which is a hybrid theatre, whereby radiology can be used during an ongoing operation. Karolinska University Hospital in Solna features a helipad for two helicopters. The capacity has been designed to be able to cope with major accidents and disasters.

Karolinska's trauma centre is the only hospital in the country to have been commissioned by the Swedish Armed Forces with responsibility for emergency injury and illness among their personnel serving overseas.