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A trauma center (or trauma centre) is a hospital equipped and staffed to provide care for patients suffering from major traumatic injuries such as falls, motor vehicle collisions, or gunshot wounds. A trauma center may also refer to an emergency department (also known as a "casualty department" or "accident & emergency") without the presence of specialized services to care for victims of major trauma.
In the United States of America, a hospital can receive trauma center status by meeting specific criteria established by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and passing a site review by the Verification Review Committee. Official designation as a trauma center is determined by individual state law provisions. Trauma centers vary in their specific capabilities and are identified by "Level" designation: Level-I (Level-1) being the highest, to Level-III (Level-3) being the lowest (some states have five designated levels, in which case Level-V (Level-5) is the lowest).
The highest levels of trauma centers have access to specialist medical and nursing care including emergency medicine, trauma surgery, critical care, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and radiology, as well as a wide variety of highly specialized and sophisticated surgical and diagnostic equipment. Lower levels of trauma centers may only be able to provide initial care and stabilization of a traumatic injury and arrange for transfer of the victim to a higher level of trauma care.
The operation of a trauma center is extremely expensive. Some areas—especially rural regions—are under-served by trauma centers because of this expense. As there is no way to schedule the need for emergency services, patient traffic at trauma centers can vary widely. A variety of methods have been developed for dealing with this.A trauma center will often have a helipad for receiving patients that have been airlifted to the hospital. In many cases, persons injured in remote areas and transported to a distant trauma center by helicopter can receive faster and better medical care than if they had been transported by ground ambulance to a closer hospital that does not have a designated trauma center. The trauma level certification can directly affect the patient's outcome and determine if the patient needs to be transferred to a higher level trauma center.

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