Frequently Asked Questions

With so many levels of emergency services, how do I know what’s best for me?

If you have serious life-threatening injuries you have a better chance of survival if you are treated at a Level 1 Trauma Center. If you go to a community hospital emergency room, and your injuries are severe, you may need to be transferred to a trauma center. This transfer wastes valuable time. In fact, Denver Health receives transfers from more than 60 regional hospitals that don’t have full trauma capabilities. Your first, best, and only chance may be Denver Health!

Trauma Center

A trauma center, like Denver Health, has:

  • Trauma surgeons as well as other specialists available 24/7 who are capable of treating all major trauma affecting all body systems
  • Dedicated operating rooms at the ready 24/7
  • Immediate access to emergency blood supply
  • Sophisticated imaging and cutting-edge lifesaving techniques

Emergency Department

An emergency department or emergency room provides treatment for illnesses and injuries when you need urgent or same-day medical attention. Our emergency department (ED) is equipped to perform lifesaving surgery right there if the patient may not make it to the operating room. Our trauma surgeons are immediately available in the ED at any time 24/7 and work with a dedicated group of emergency physicians who are nationally recognized experts in emergency medicine.

There is more than one hospital accessible to me; do I have a choice?

EMS providers assess patients using guidelines, known as destination protocols, and match patients with the best hospital based on level of urgency and their disease or injury. A patient may need bypass a local hospital and be taken to a level one trauma center, because symptoms or injuries require the medical expertise only available at a level one trauma center.

What else should I consider about a trauma center?

Trauma center outcomes are influenced by its experience and the expertise of its teams, how long the hospital has been delivering trauma services and how experienced the doctors are. We have 40 years of delivering trauma services, and our surgeons literally wrote the textbook on trauma.

Why was Denver Health chosen as the designated regional trauma center?

Denver Health has embodied the concept of acute care surgery, combining trauma, surgical critical care and emergency general surgery in its surgical department for over 40 years, caring for over 2,700 trauma patients annually. 

Denver Health offers cutting-edge, evidence-based trauma care with some of the nation’s best outcomes. We never settle. We are dedicated to advancing the field of trauma and continually improve our processes and outcomes through research, training, innovation and performance improvement initiatives.