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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

NEWS RELEASE: Southlake Identified as Level III Trauma Centre

Southlake has been identified as a Level III Trauma Centre, enabling care teams to provide life-saving interventions to patients that present at Southlake. Trauma is a term used to describe physical injury that occurs suddenly due to an external force or event. As a Level III Trauma Centre, Southlake can care for medium acuity patients including wounds resulting from accidents, falls, sports injuries, violence, or other incidents that cause damage to the body’s tissues, organs and bones. 


“Trauma is the leading cause of death for Canadians under the age of 45, cutting short many young lives,” said Stella Johnson, Director of Emergency & Mental Health at Southlake. “While we already care for more than 500 medium acuity trauma patients annually, this formal recognition means we can continue to do so as part of an inclusive, integrated, and accountable system that leverages expertise from leading centres like Sunnybrook, Unity Health Toronto, and SickKids hospital to improve outcomes for patients, close to home.” 


In 2021-22, Ontario’s Regional Trauma Networks (RTN) identified hospital sites that fulfilled the criteria to function as Level III Trauma Centres to help improve trauma capacity within the healthcare system. Southlake was identified as one of six initial sites in Ontario due to its highly skilled and multidisciplinary team of medical professionals, including surgeons, emergency medicine specialists, and critical care nurses, available 24/7 to respond to injured patients. 


"Families and seniors in King-Vaughan and across York Region deserve the very best health care, which is why our government is proud to support the incredible doctors, nurses and other health professionals at Southlake Regional Health Centre,” said Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan. “As York Region has grown and prospered, our health care needs have expanded and grown more complex, so it’s very good news that Southlake is one of the first hospitals to be identified as a Level III Trauma Centre. This will save lives.”


As part of the South Central RTN within the Ontario trauma system, Southlake receives $250,000 in additional funding to create a community hospital level III trauma program. High-acuity trauma patients will continue to be transferred to industry leading Lead Trauma Hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area. 


“Time is truly of the essence when it comes to saving the lives of trauma patients,” said Dr. Leeor Sommer, Trauma Medical Director at Southlake. “Data shows lower mortality in areas with Level III Trauma Centres because patients have access to immediate care in the right place. Timely treatment can significantly improve the chances of survival and recovery, so trauma patients need rapid access to specialized trauma care.” 


Specialized trauma team response allows our clinicians to quickly assess and address life-threatening injuries, control bleeding, stabilize vital signs and prevent further harm. Delaying care can lead to complications, permanent damage, or even loss of life. 


“Southlake is one of the first in Ontario to be identified as a Level III Trauma Centre, and this reflects our commitment to providing exceptional, life-saving care to the communities we serve,” said Dr. David Makary, Vice President, Medical Affairs at Southlake. “It’s important to note that this is a progression along with the growth of our communities and volumes of trauma patients are not expected to increase overnight. Being identified as a Level III Trauma Centre will help us to improve our trauma care and ensure patients experiencing trauma can receive immediate high-quality care.” 


Going forward the trauma team will also offer community outreach and education through the Stop the Bleed program.


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