The trauma center at the Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital on Hwy. 290 in Cypress has officially been designated as a Level III center by the state, officials said in a March 16 announcement.

The hospital has been working towards obtaining a Level III designation for several years, a process that involves demonstrating to the Texas Department of State Health Services that the hospital can provide rapid emergency care for a variety of needs.

“As trauma continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, it’s important for our team to be able to manage trauma cases as they arrive to our hospital,” said Jerry Ashworth, senior vice president and CEO of of the Cypress hospital, in a March 16 statement. “This designation is important to Cypress and the surrounding community because it confirms our trauma team’s ability to provide access to high quality trauma care at a trauma center in a timely manner. Timing is critical in saving a life.”

Key requirements to achieve the designation include having 24-hour coverage of emergency medical physicians, a full schedule of general surgeons available on campus to arrive within 30 minutes, an anesthesiologist in house 24/7 and orthopedic surgeons on call within 30 minutes, said Marci Holub, chief nursing officer with the hospital.

In addition, the hospital can transport patients to a Level II trauma center at the Memorial Hermann Woodlands Hospital and a Level I center at system's hospital in the Texas Medical Center within 10 minutes via Life Flight air medical service, she said.

Reasons a person may need to visit a trauma center vary and can include car accidents, hip fractures and gun shot wounds, Holub said. Reasons a person would need care at a Level II or Level I center typically involve severe head injuries, such as bleeding from the head, or more serious fractures, such as when a car crash occurs at very high speeds, she said. In those instances, the team at the Cypress trauma center can stabilize a patient before sending them to The Woodlands or Texas Medical Center campuses, she said.

With the nearest recognized trauma centers in Tomball and Katy, the Memorial Hermann center plays a vital roll in the Cypress and Waller areas, Holub said. A Level II trauma center previously operated out the Cy-Fair Medical Center Hospital, but was shut down when the hospital was converted into an standalone emergency center.

Part of achieving the Level III designation also involved working with emergency repsonders, including those with the Cy-Fair Fire Department, Waller Volunteer Fire Department and Rosehill Fire Department, Holub said. EMS providers take part in monthly trauma drills conducted by hospital staff that are meant to ensure preparation, she said.

"Having this trauma center here also helps keeps our EMS providers in the area," she said. "Once they are able to drop patients off quickly at our facility they can go back out to their routes instead of having to go much farther with an ambulance [to another hospital]."

Since opening in 2017, the Cypress hospital has seen strong demand for services and has expanded its bed count from 81 to 105. With rapid population growth predicted for the Cypress area at the time the hospital opened, achieving a Level III trauma designation was always part of the plan, Holub said.

"Trauma has been part of Memorial Hermann's commitment and vision for our community since the inception and vision of Memorial Hermann Cypress," she said. "We are very blessed to have system support and to have a dedicated trauma service line."