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    What Is Trauma?

    Trauma is a medical term for a class of very serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries that include amputations; penetrating injuries to the head, neck or torso (i.e. gunshot or knife wounds); blunt injuries to the head, neck or torso (most often associated with motor vehicle crashes); ejection from a moving vehicle; certain vehicle accidents and rollovers; falls; multiple bone fractures; another other potentially serious injuries to the head, spine or vital organs.

    There are specific criteria that paramedics use at the scene to determine if a patient is a critical trauma patient. Whenever a patient is determined to be a trauma patient, the paramedics transport him or her to the nearest trauma center, bypassing closer hospitals. Because they are alerted by radio from the scene or in transport, the trauma team can assemble in the trauma room and begin treatment immediately upon the patient's arrival.

    What Is the Trauma System?

    The Eden Medical Center Trauma Center is part of a countywide trauma system designed to provide the best chance of survival for seriously injured individuals. There are three trauma centers in Alameda County. Eden Medical Center provides trauma care for the southern and southeastern part of the county. Alameda County's Highland Hospital provides care for the north county, and Children's Hospital Oakland provides care for trauma patients under age 14.

    The Alameda County Trauma System was designed in 1985 after a landmark study by San Francisco trauma specialist, Dr. Donald Trunkey, showed that approximately 50 percent of people killed in motor vehicle crashes during the previous year in the Bay Area could have possibly survived with this higher level of care. The county trauma system was conceived considering population, demographics, patterns of injuries and their locations in the county. The system is overseen by the Alameda County Supervisors and the Emergency Medical Services division of the Public Health Department.

    The higher level of care offered through Eden's trauma center benefits not only trauma victims, but the entire hospital and the community.