University Hospital is South Texas’ First and Only Pediatric Trauma Center

October 30, 2012

For many years, University Hospital, as the lead Level I trauma center for South Texas, has been the primary destination for the treatment of life-threatening injuries in both adults and children. Now the hospital is also the first in South Texas to be recognized by a national body for its expertise in treating serious injuries in children.

The American College of Surgeons’ (ACS) Committee on Trauma has verified University Hospital as a pediatric trauma center. To qualify, the hospital had to meet more than 20 criteria ranging from the around-the-clock availability of specialized care, to programs in pediatric rehabilitation, social work and injury prevention, as well as the education of health professionals and the public in the care of injuries to children. The recognition came after a lengthy application process and site visit in August.

"While we have been providing the highest level of care for injured and burned children for many years, we made the decision to seek verification as a pediatric trauma center to further our commitment the families of Bexar County and South Texas," said George B. Hernández Jr., University Health System president/CEO. "We sincerely hope you will never need these services for your child but, if you do, the pediatric trauma team at University Hospital stands ready, every day around the clock, with the best experts and technology, and following best practice treatment guidelines. There is no greater mission than this."

University Hospital, with its physician partners at UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, is the only Level I trauma center in South Texas caring for injured and burned children. The San Antonio Military Medical Center's Level I trauma center, which works closely with University Health System, only accepts adult civilian patients.

University Hospital treats almost 1,000 children suffering from serious injuries and burns each year. The hospital operates the only pediatric burn program in South Texas as part of its trauma mission. University Hospital was officially verified by ACS as a Level II pediatric trauma center on October 24, and plans to advance to Level I status at a future date. The requirements related to patient care for Level I and Level II are the same. Level I verification includes specific criteria related to pediatric trauma research.

University Hospital is well known for providing the highest quality of care for seriously injured children. Being the only American College of Surgeons' verified pediatric trauma center in South Texas is a recognition of the achievements of our trauma team's dedication and commitment to provide optimal care for the injured children,” said Dr. Lillian Liao, a UT Medicine trauma surgeon and director of the Pediatric Trauma and Burn Program at University Hospital.

The ACS Committee on Trauma's verification program does not designate trauma centers. Rather, the program confirms that a trauma center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality trauma care for all injured patients. In Texas, trauma centers are designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services, which does not yet have a separate designation for pediatric trauma centers.