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Sacramento, Calif. – A new era in emergency and trauma care dawned at UC Davis Medical Center on Wednesday, Oct. 6, when the expanded, state-of-the-art emergency department opened to the public for both walk-in patient and ambulance traffic.

The emergency department is relocating after decades at its former location on V Street. One of the largest and busiest emergency departments in Northern California, and the largest in the Sacramento region, UC Davis serves a 33-county area and beyond. At more than 40,000 square feet, the new facility is more than double the size of the old, approximately 19,000-square-foot emergency department. The department has nearly two-thirds more patient beds, 68 versus 42 in the former emergency department.

The $32 million facility houses the only level 1 pediatric and adult trauma center in all of Northern California. There are only three level 1 pediatric and adult trauma centers in California. The other two ย— Loma Linda University Medical Center and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center ย— are located in Southern California.

Named the Michael W. Chapman Emergency and Trauma Center, the new facility’s state-of-the-art equipment and larger patient-care areas dramatically improve accessibility and treatment for the more than 55,000 patients who each year are admitted to the emergency department. It also improves the efficiency of admission and patient flow at UC Davis Medical Center.

Fiscal Year

In the past fiscal year, more than 53 percent of all patients hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center were admitted to the hospital through the emergency department. On average, each month about 250 patients are admitted to intensive care units from the emergency department ย— a reflection of the very high level of acuity of medical center patients.

Opening of the new emergency department is being coordinated with city and county agencies, including police, fire and emergency medical services agencies throughout Northern California. The department’s entrance, for more than 27 years off V Street, now will be on 45th Street.

The recently completed Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion provides the new face of UC Davis Medical Center. In addition to the emergency department, the pavilion includes treatment spaces for high-acuity patients, including new operating rooms and recovery areas for cardiovascular, neurological and burn surgery patients, among others.

“We have had an exceptional trauma service for decades, but now the quality of our facilities will reflect the excellent patient care that UC Davis physicians, nurses and staff deliver,” said David Wisner, chair of the Department of Surgery at UC Davis. “This will be a significant improvement in the quality of the experience for the seriously injured patients for whom we care.”

Trauma patients and surgery

Sixty to 70 percent of the trauma patients admitted to the medical center require some type of surgery, most frequently orthopaedic surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and opthalmologic surgery, among others. The new facility co-locates essential surgery, imaging, pathology and emergency department services to facilitate diagnosis and treatment. For example, the placement of the trauma center enables patients to be transferred to the operating room 75 percent faster.

The new emergency department has four patient-care areas, or ‘pods,’ three for adult patients and a separate pediatric pod. In addition, it also will have an observation area for sick patients who may not need to be hospitalized, as well as a fast-track ‘up-front’ area for less severely ill patients. These latter patients may only need a quick swab of the throat or prescription refill, and will receive care in a location where it can be delivered promptly.

Creation of these discrete treatment areas will help alleviate congestion and result in more efficient patient care and throughput. In some cases, patients who previously might have required overnight hospitalization may receive complete care in the emergency department.

While the former emergency department had a separate pediatric treatment area, the new area for patients younger than 18 is larger, with 11 instead of seven beds. A new and much-welcome feature is a separate waiting room for children and their families, secluded from the waiting and patient-care area for adults.

Physicians treating children in the pediatric emergency department are the only ones in the Sacramento region specially trained in pediatric emergency medicine, with expertise in treating childhood emergencies. Equipment used in the pediatric department is specially designed and appropriately sized for children.

‘When we see patients, we’ll be doing documentation right at the bedside,’ Kuppermann said. ‘We’re essentially a paperless emergency department.’

The trauma center and emergency department are named for internationally known orthopaedic surgeon Michael Chapman. The Michael W. Chapman Emergency and Trauma Center honors Chapman, who is considered one of the fathers of modern trauma surgery and served two decades as chair of the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Adjacent to the trauma center, the Elizabeth C. Chapman Emergency Department Waiting Room recognizes Chapman’s wife, Elizabeth. Within the trauma center, a treatment area devoted exclusively to pediatrics is named Lions Education Foundation District 4-C5 and Lions Clubs International Foundation Pediatric Emergency Room.

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