SANTA MARIA - Santa Maria's Marian Regional Medical Center wants to be officially known as a Trauma Center.
The hospital is applying for official designation as a "level III" trauma center.
Currently the only designated trauma center in Santa Barbara County for seriously injured patients is Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Marian's application would continue what hospital officials say is current service levels with additional doctors and staff on duty.
"We want the community to understand that these services have been here", says Marian Regional Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Kerin Mase, "its just a more formal process that we are undergoing to ensure that we meet the criteria for the County and the program."
For Marian hospital staff it means being officially recognized for providing a higher level of service.
"Its very exciting and its something that has been thought about for quite a long time", says Marian nurse Lisa Abeloe, "with the new hospital being built and now in place and being open for patients the timing was right to get the designation done."
In the immediate aftermath of a traumatic injury, seconds and minutes can make the difference between life and death in what emergency first responders know as the "golden hour".
"The first hour after the accident, if we can get some certain things done, get patients a Cat-scan, get them to an operating room, to a trauma center, they have the best possible outcome", says Adam Pettit, Chief Flight Nurse for CALStar emergency medical helicopter service on the Central Coast.
A final site visit and inspection is set for later this month before Marian Regional Medical Center knows if its been officially declared a Level III Trauma Center next month.
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