Wolfson Children’s Hospital receives Level I Pediatric Trauma Center verification

The Porter Family Children’s Trauma Center earned recognition by the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

Jacksonville, FL

Sixteen-year-old Connor Gooding only remembers seeing flashing red lights on the night of October 9, 2021. His mother Kimberly, though, can recall everything in vivid detail.

“I got a phone call from my friend’s daughter who said Connor had an accident on a golf cart,” she said. “I thought he just maybe broke his arm or something. It wasn’t until I got there and saw him lying on the ground and all the blood in the street that I realized how serious it was.”

In a matter of minutes, Connor was loaded onto a Life Flight air ambulance helicopter and flown from St. Johns County to Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s Porter Family Children’s Trauma Center. There, the Pediatric Trauma team was awaiting his arrival and rushed him to CT scan, which revealed a skull fracture and brain bleed. By midnight, Alexandra Beier, DO, a pediatric neurosurgeon with the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville who practices at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, was performing surgery to relieve pressure in Connor’s skull.

“We didn’t know if he was even going to make it out of surgery at first,” Kimberly Gooding recalled. “And then the next question was, would he still be the same Connor?”

Thanks to the quick action of first responders at the scene and the Wolfson Children’s Pediatric Trauma team, Connor has made a full recovery and is thriving socially and academically. Though he still hasn’t been cleared for contact sports, he’s finding new ways to stay active, like playing tennis.

Verified and saving lives

In 2018, Wolfson Children’s Hospital became a state-designated Pediatric Trauma Center. Florida Department of Health-designated Pediatric Trauma Centers are required to have pediatric-specific capabilities, specialists and facilities available around the clock.

In further recognition of the expert care provided to the region’s most critically ill and injured children, like Connor, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma recently verified Wolfson Children’s Porter Family Children’s Trauma Center as the region’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center.

“The first hour after an injury occurs is critical in determining a child’s outcome. The team of caregivers is ready to provide life-saving care when children need it most,” said John Draus, MD, medical director of the Porter Family Children’s Trauma Center and division chief of pediatric surgery for Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville. “The new verification by the American College of Surgeons is one more way to reassure parents that their child will get the best care when minutes matter.”

The ACS Verification, Review and Consultation Program helps hospitals evaluate and improve trauma care by providing an external review of resources and performance in various areas, including:

  • Commitment
  • Readiness
  • Resources
  • Injury prevention
  • Policies
  • Patient care
  • Performance improvement
  • Research
  • Outreach/education

“The Wolfson Children’s Trauma team is trained to provide specialized care to the most critically injured babies, children and teens in Northeast Florida and far beyond,” said Lisa Nichols, MBA, BSN, RN, CCRN-K, manager of Wolfson Children’s Pediatric Trauma Program. “The miracles they perform each and every day have impacted countless children and families, and as a team, they have worked hard to attain this prestigious honor.”

The ACS Level I verification is an additional recognition of the world-class care provided by Wolfson Children’s Trauma Program. Currently, there are fewer than 70 ACS-verified Level I Pediatric Trauma Centers nationwide.

At Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the Trauma team consists of:

  • A team of board-certified pediatric surgeons, one of whom is on call and promptly available 24/7
  • Pediatric anesthesiologists, one of whom is on-site 24/7 to be available at a moment’s notice when trauma surgery is indicated
  • Pediatric emergency physicians and pediatric critical care physicians credentialed by the hospital to provide care in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department are on-site and available to care for pediatric trauma patients 24/7
  • A team of board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons, one of whom is always on call to arrive promptly to provide neuro-trauma treatment 24/7
  • A team of board-certified pediatric orthopedic surgeons, one of whom is always on call to arrive promptly to provide orthopedic care 24/7
  • On-call specialists in cardiac surgery, ophthalmic surgery, oral/maxillofacial surgery, otorhinolaryngologic surgery, plastic surgery, thoracic surgery, and urologic surgery
  • Pediatric radiologists and support staff
  • Pediatric pharmacists
  • Trauma-trained advanced practice providers, including advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants available in-house 24/7
  • Pediatric trauma-trained nurses in the Emergency Department, Operating Room/PACU, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and inpatient units.
  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Social workers
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapists
  • Laboratory and blood blank employees
  • Nutrition and dietary services
  • Trauma psychologists
  • Pediatric transport team experts
  • Spiritual care
  • Child Life specialist

Additionally, Wolfson Children’s Kids Kare Critical Care Transport Fleet includes one fixed-wing aircraft, a dedicated air ambulance helicopter and two Kids Kare Mobile ICUs, making Wolfson Children’s accessible to patients as far as 1,500 miles away.

Newborns and children who require critical care will be treated in the new Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units in the Borowy Family Children’s Critical Care Tower, which opened in February 2022. The seven-story, 225,000-square-foot facility features state-of-the-art technology and houses specialized suites for Cardiovascular and Neuro Intensive Care, along with designated Burn and Wound beds.

Physicians providing care at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are not employees nor agents of the hospital. Services at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are provided primarily by pediatric physician specialists employed by Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville and Emergency Resources Group.