Trauma Center Levels

At the highest levels, Trauma Centers such as Harborview, have trauma surgeons available 24 hours a day including surgeons from many disciplines including neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.  At the highest level, the Center has highly sophisticated medical diagnostic equipment and have a helipad for receiving patients from remote locations and distant hospitals.

Trauma Center Level designations are established by governmental entities. Some hospitals voluntarily participate in a process of the American College of Surgeons to have their services verified.

Level I

Level I trauma centers such as Harborview Medical Center in Seattle provide 24 hour care to injured persons as well as accommodate a high volume of patients. Level I Centers usually meet the following criteria:

  • Provides 24-hour-a-day trauma care
  • Provides specialists in many areas
  • Provides sophisticated diagnostic equipment
  • Provides a cadre of surgeons including neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, oral and maxillofacial surgeon
  • Provides anesthesiologist
  • Provides critical care unit for surgery recovery
  • Provides radiology services
  • Has Emergency Research program
  • Leads other hospitals in trauma education and injury prevention
  • Provides a resource for referrals
  • Has a surgical residency program.
Level II

Level II Trauma Centers provide:

  • Comprehensive trauma care
  • 24 hour-a-day car with essential specialties
  • Usually do not have research or surgical residency programs.
Level III

Level III hospitals provide the following:

  • Emergency resuscitation
  • Emergency surgery
  • Intensive care
  • Usually do not provide a full cadre of specialists and refer patients to other hospitals.