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Wheeling Hospital tops for trauma

WHEELING – Trauma care at Wheeling Hospital has been ranked No. 1 in the Wheeling market for medical excellence and patient safety.

The findings were released by CareChex, a division of Comparion Medical Analytics, in its 2016 Quality Awards and Eligibility Requirements report. The Wheeling market includes Ohio, Belmont and Marshall counties.

Wheeling Hospital also scored higher than hospitals in the Steubenville-Weirton area.

“The ranking validates the high level of care provided to our trauma patients. Trauma includes some of the worst types of injuries suffered through a variety of causes. A trauma case typically means a life hangs in the balance,” said Wheeling Hospital CEO Ron Violi. “We are very proud of the emergency physicians, trauma surgeons, nurses and other staff at our Sharon and Richard Dlesk Emergency-Trauma Center, as well as the other departments that assist when a trauma arrives here.”

Violi said while other quality rating services only evaluate one aspect of patient care, such as mortality rates, CareChex’s methodology looks at all three components of medical quality – process of care, outcomes of care and patient satisfaction.

Last year, Wheeling Hospital treated nearly 50,000 cases in its emergency trauma center. Of that total, 902 were trauma cases. Among the traumas treated in 2015, the top four leading causes were motor vehicle crashes, followed by falls, all-terrain vehicle accidents and motorcycle wrecks.

“An important part of the trauma care process begins with the local emergency squads. From the time the patient enters an ambulance, emergency medical personnel are in constant radio contact with us to discuss and render care. They are our eyes and ears so we can better prepare for the patient upon arrival here,” said Heather Merkel, trauma manager and registered nurse.

Open in 2012, the center has 30 private exam rooms and four trauma-specific treatment rooms with modern and sophisticated medical equipment and systems. The center also has its own 128-slice CT scanner that helps provide a faster, more precise diagnosis.

“When every second counts, having everything nearby can make a difference,” Merkel said.