Dr. David Hirschman

Mighty Blog

Children’s ER doctor talks Level I trauma center re-verification

Emergency trauma
Dr. David Hirschman (right) is associate trauma medical director and co-medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Minnesota.

The UnitedHealthcare® Pediatric Emergency Department and Level I Trauma Center at Children’s Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus is the state’s first and only Level I pediatric trauma center in a hospital dedicated solely to kids. This year, we received re-verification by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) that maintains our Level I pediatric trauma center status – the highest level offered – for another three years. We asked Dr. David Hirschman, associate trauma medical director and co-medical director of the emergency department, what this means for kids in the region.

Q: What does it mean for Children’s Minnesota to receive Level I pediatric trauma center verification?

A: Level I verification means that we can continue to treat the worst-of-the-worst injuries and traumas, and provide the highest quality care for critically-injured patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With the Level I verification, we accept injured kids directly from the scene of the accident – when every minute counts – either by ambulance or helicopter, and we receive many transfer patients where our unique expertise provides for definitive care of the most complex patients.

Q: Why is it important for the trauma center to be Level I verified?

A: Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in kids and teenagers, caused by accidents like motor-vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, sports injuries, assault and more. It’s important for families to know that kids have a better chance of survival when cared for at a Level I pediatric trauma center. We have one of the most active pediatric emergency medicine programs in the nation, with more than 95,000 emergency room visits annually, and treat 40 percent of pediatric trauma patients in the Twin Cities. 

Q: What sets Children’s Minnesota Level I pediatric trauma center apart?

A: Children’s Minnesota has the state’s largest and most experienced staff specifically trained to treat kids, including in-house pediatric trauma surgeons available 24/7. Our trauma center has the highest-quality resources available to treat patients in critical conditions. We are dedicated to providing integrative care and have child life specialists and social workers available to assist patients and families during a trauma visit. We also support advocacy through injury prevention efforts like our Making Safe Simple program, designed to share basic safety tips with the community and keep kids out of the emergency room.

Q: What does the future look like for the Children’s Minnesota trauma program?

A: We believe all kids should have access to the best care available, especially in emergency situations. With Level I status, we can further evolve our telemedicine and transport services to expand our trauma expertise throughout the region. Beyond that, we are committed to collecting data and publishing outcomes research to improve trauma care across the nation.

To learn more about our Level I trauma center and other emergency services provided by Children’s Minnesota, visit our Emergency & Trauma section. For more information about the trauma center’s re-verification, see the full press release.

Our UnitedHealthcare® Pediatric Emergency Department and Level I Trauma Center is Minnesota’s only Level I pediatric trauma center in a hospital dedicated solely to kids.