News Blog

Expanding Emergency Care at Penn Medicine

As we look toward the opening of our new Pavilion for Advanced Care (PAC) and the transition of our trauma center from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, throughout the month of January, the News Blog is highlighting some of the latest news and stories from across the areas of Penn Medicine that will find new homes in the PAC.

PPMC Emergency sign.jpegEmergency department physicians, nurses and staff are a unique breed of medical professionals. They thrive in the fast-paced, high-stress environment of caring for people during the most critical of times. We don’t know when or if we’ll need their help, but if we do, we trust we’ll be in good hands. 

With the February 4, 2015 relocation of Penn Medicine’s Level I Trauma Center from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) to a brand new, state-of-the-art space in Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC)’s Pavilion for Advanced Care, Penn’s Emergency Medicine department will be expanding its capabilities to care for the most critically ill and injured patients.

The relocation of the trauma center signifies a major change for the health system. The emergency department at HUP will continue to handle more than 60,000 visits each year, providing care for a variety of time-sensitive illnesses. However, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel will now take patients with traumatic injuries — including those resulting from severe falls, car or motorcycle crashes, gunshots or stabbings— to PPMC.

“The new trauma center at Penn Presbyterian is exciting all around, but especially because it comes with some other very welcome additions,” says John Flamma, MD, chief of the department of Emergency Medicine at PPMC. “Our specialty services — including neurology, cardiology and orthopedics — are expanding,” with three floors of critical care in the new Pavilion for Advanced Care, in order to provide the very best care for any kind of trauma patient that comes through the door, since they often require attention from many different subspecialists to ensure the best outcome.

“This trauma move represents a shift for the emergency department as a whole,” says Ed Dickinson, MD, director of EMS field operations for Penn’s department of Emergency Medicine, who is leading the department’s transition. “It’s a huge, impressive expansion for PPMC’s emergency department, for sure, but it’s also providing an opportunity for growth at HUP.” Dickinson explains that the former trauma bay area in the HUP emergency department will be converted to a critical care and resuscitation area for patients. “Our changes to both the HUP and PPMC emergency departments enhance critical care capabilities in both places,” he says.

To provide a better idea of the expansion of PPMC’s emergency department, here are a few fast facts:

  • 29 exam rooms (including 16 new rooms)
  • 5 trauma bays (up from 3 at HUP)
  • 65-square-foot helipad (with direct elevator access to the trauma and resuscitation bays)
  • 24/7 trauma care for the most serious of injuries

Of course, a primary source of trauma patients being brought to the hospital is EMS personnel, so it’s been a priority to make sure that they’re informed about the transition and included in the overall plans. In fact, the new trauma center has been designed to provide continuity of care for patients who are brought in by ambulance or helicopter, with specially-designated places for EMS personnel to remain near the patient’s bedside. There’s even a special lounge for EMS personnel to work on their documentation and regroup before leaving.

Ultimately, all these changes add up to the highest level of care for patients walking through the doors at any of Penn Medicine’s Philadelphia area hospitals.

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This blog is written and produced by Penn Medicine’s Department of Communications. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive an e-mail notification when new content goes live!

Views expressed are those of the author or other attributed individual and do not necessarily represent the official opinion of the related Department(s), University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine), or the University of Pennsylvania, unless explicitly stated with the authority to do so.

Health information is provided for educational purposes and should not be used as a source of personal medical advice.

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