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Administrators unavailable for trauma center update

It is unclear whether Washington county Hospital's truma center will reopen by Labor Day weekend.

It is unclear whether Washington county Hospital's truma center will reopen by Labor Day weekend.

August 27, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Washington County Hospital could not say Monday whether the trauma center would reopen by Labor Day weekend, a spokeswoman said.

Administrators said last week they hoped to hear back by Monday from trauma surgeons who were offered contracts.

Hospital administrators were unavailable to give an update Monday because they were out of the office at meetings, spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said.

The hospital closed its trauma center June 1, saying it could not cover all shifts with surgeons. Since then, more patients have been taken to other trauma centers in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Washington County Hospital probably will reopen as a lower-level center, President and CEO James Hamill has said.

For the past five years, surgeons have been available around-the-clock, allowing a Level II designation that was unique among rural Maryland hospitals.

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A Level III trauma center will be easier to accomplish because it gives surgeons 30 minutes to get to the hospital, allowing them more time with their families, Hamill has said.

Once contracts with surgeons are signed, the hospital would need to schedule surgeons to be on call 24 hours a day in order to reopen.

Meanwhile, the condition of a Glen Burnie, Md., man whose all-terrain vehicle accident drew attention to the trauma center issue improved at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Justin Fishell, 25, was listed in serious condition instead of critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

It took emergency crews 90 minutes to get Fishell to the Baltimore trauma center after the Aug. 2 accident at the Mason-Dixon Dragway, about 8 miles from Hagerstown.

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