Trident Medical Center recently passed a comprehensive state reaccreditation review to maintain its status as a designated trauma center.

“For the public, it means that Trident has gone a step further in investing in their well-being by providing additional resources to care for them in case of a traumatic injury,” said Bob Behanian, hospital spokesman.

“For the hospital, it is an accomplishment to be designated as a trauma center. It says that we have gone a step further... to help create the best possible outcomes for our patients,” he said.

Of the five trauma centers here, Trident is the only one located in the North Area. The Medical University of South Carolina has the highest-rated trauma center, a so-called Level I accreditation. The others, including Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, Roper Hospital, East Cooper Medical Center and Trident, have earned the Level III accreditation, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The presence of a trauma unit in a community can mean the difference between life and death. The first 60 minutes after the most serious injuries, the so-called “golden hour,” is critical to survival, said Jim Beasley, DHEC spokesman.

“We’ve got some areas of the state where it’s hard to find a good trauma center,” Beasley said.

A trauma center differs from a hospital emergency department because it has additional resources and equipment to help care for severely injured patients. Its staffing, specialist availability, response times and training are more extensive, according to DHEC.

Trauma centers are ranked as Level I, II or III depending on the care they can provide. Level I centers must have trauma surgery, anesthesia and operating room capabilities available at all times, according to the department’s website. Other specialists must be on call and able to respond within a short time, the site states.

A Level III trauma center “should have the capability to initially manage the majority of injured patients and have transfer agreements with a Level I or II trauma center for patients whose needs exceed their resources,” according to the state’s site.