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Posted: April 26, 2018 3:15 p.m.
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Winn ACH earns Level IV Trauma designation

Kaytrina Curtis/

Winn Army Community Hospital emergency room, in conjunction with one of the ancillary support services Life Star Medi-Vac, held a mock trauma exercise, April 16.

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U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Stewart, Winn Army Community Hospital, held a designation ceremony at the emergency room entrance to signify Winn ACH as a Level IV Trauma Center April 18. Winn is a state-of-the art, 25-bed emergency room and fully accredited 39-bed hospital.

As one of 26 hospitals state wide with this level of distinction or higher, and the only military hospital in the state of Georgia with this merit, Winn’s accomplishment makes it capable of taking care of more complex medical trauma related emergencies. 

MEDDAC Chief, Emergency Medical Services, Jim Ochoa, said the Centers for Disease Control has a standard, which outline four different areas. Physiologic conditions are based off of vital signs. Anatomic conditions, which have to do with injuries that occur to the patient, multiple injuries or certain areas of the body.  The third area is called mechanism of injury, which poses the questions-what caused the accident, or caused the injury? Lastly there are special considerations, diving into burns and extremes of ages, small children, older folks, folks that have additional medical problems which   relate as comorbidities. 

“Those are all of the things that are included on that inclusion criteria to the trauma center,” Ochoa said. “If they meet that criteria based off of how they present, most of them, if their very seriously injured, should be going to the level one trauma center in Savannah. However, in some instances these patients are so severely injured they may not survive a 45-50 minute transport to Savannah. And us being here closer, Winn being a designated trauma center they can at least began that process for resuscitation, stabilization, and then moving them to the level one trauma center for further services.”

Keynote speaker and former Winn ACH Commander, Maj. Gen. Ronald J. Place, Director, National Capital Region-Atlantic Medical Directorate, Defense Health Agency said as a participant in some of the original planning of the designation, he was proud of the team’s ability to accomplish the mission. 

“It is not an overstatement to say that in some fashion you are pioneering the future of trauma care here at Fort Stewart,” Place said. “American medicine has talked for a long time about the importance of a truly integrated national trauma system that melds the strengths of the military and civilian health systems.”

Place lamented on the necessity of the trauma care Winn provides. 

“As military medical professionals, that means maintaining the medical readiness of our forces so they are healthy and prepared when the nation calls, and it means being ready ourselves to deploy alongside them and, if necessary, to provide lifesaving care,” Place said. 

Executive Director of the Georgia Trauma Commission, Dena Abston, said she was proud and thankful to be a part of the event.

“From what we have learned in trauma, all of our trauma education comes from the military field for the most part,” Abston said. “That bridges a large gap that we have been needing for so long and I’m just proud that Georgia is going to be leading the pack on this as well.”

Doctor (Capt.) John Jennette, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity – Fort Stewart, Department of Emergency Medicine said the trauma designation provides Winn the opportunity to serve the community with increased services. With readiness as Winn’s top priority, Jennette said the team here strives to deliver the best medical care to not only the military beneficiaries, but anyone seen at Winn for emergent care.

“I think that you really only have to ask anyone whose been through a significant event here to understand that we’re really doing a very good job,” Jennette said. “We’re striving to give everybody the highest level of care that we can. I think that that’s a perception that you see at every military facility, and we fight actively to show what a good job we can do and that we don’t just meet, but exceed the capability of many other similarly sized hospitals.”

For the past two years of his command, MEDDAC – Fort Stewart, Winn ACH Commander, Col. Christopher Warner, provided a major push for the trauma designation. 

“This designation today just continues to solidify our pledge to you, our Soldiers, Families, Soldiers for Life, and our community, that our committed staff will be ready to provide safe, high quality healthcare you can trust in times of emergency,” Warner said.  

Receiving the designation required countless hours of research, dedication and perseverance to overcome many of the challenges faced during the process. One of the progenitors of making the designation possible was Michele Evans, Winn ACH, Assistant Head Nurse Emergency Department, and Trauma Program Manager.

“We’re going to send our doctor’s and our nurses and our medics downrange and they are going to do this in a less than hospitable environment with not as many resources as we appreciate here in the United States,” Evans said. “So in this instance, this gives them an opportunity to practice this skill in an environment where there’s resources and folks to kind of help guide them through that process.”

Jennette gives much credit to the dedication Evans provided. He said Evans learned the process and requirements, as well as discussed progress constantly with the Georgia Trauma Commission.

“[She] did all of the legwork for our local protocol, Trauma Operations Committee meetings, and coordinated the site visit from the Georgia Trauma Commission,” Jennette said.

Along with the trauma designation, Winn staff is active in the Fort Stewart and the surrounding communities instructing first responders and teachers the Stop-the-Bleed initiative, which is a life-saving skill. 

Winn continues to strive to serve as the premier patient centered, highly reliable health readiness platform for Fort Stewart and the surrounding communities.



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