Trauma Center

The Trauma Center at Mission Hospital is South Orange County’s only verified adult and pediatric Level II trauma facility. Our specialized team treats trauma injuries for patients of all ages.

Trauma injuries are the leading cause of death among patients aged 1 to 44 years in most developed countries, making comprehensive emergency trauma care an essential asset to our community.

The award-winning team at Mission Hospital exclusively treats trauma-related injuries. We provide a continuum of care from the moment a trauma patient passes through our doors, administering life-saving treatments within the “golden hour”—the first hour following the injury.  

As part of our specialized care approach, a trauma nurse is assigned to each patient, caring for that patient from the moment they arrive until they are admitted or discharged from the trauma bay. In order to ensure continuity of care, the trauma team—consisting of surgeons, nurse practitioners, and nurses—follow each patient throughout their stay at Mission Hospital. In addition, patients requiring assistance post-discharge may seek follow-up treatment through our trauma clinic. 

No parent wants to think about their child experiencing a traumatic injury. But if it happens, everyone wants the best medical care in a child-focused facility that’s close to home. That’s why we partnered with CHOC Children’s Hospital to develop CHOC Children’s at Mission, the only Pediatric Level II Trauma Center in South Orange County and north San Diego County.  

It’s critical to receive treatment within the “golden hour,” or the first hour after receiving a trauma injury. Pediatric trauma patients require a comprehensive and inclusive approach to care that also addresses the unique needs of injured children. The Mission Hospital Pediatric Trauma Team is comprised of award-winning nurses, surgeons, and technicians, ready to get little ones back on their feet.  

CHOC Children’s at Mission is a 54-bed facility that operates as a separately licensed pediatric center and Level II Pediatric Trauma Center with its own medical staff, including: 

  • Pediatric subspecialists 
  • Registered nurses  
  • Child-life specialists 
  • Hospitalists and neonatologists on site 24 hours a day 
  • A 24-bed medical/surgical unit for children who need to be hospitalized while receiving care for an illness, injury, or surgery
  • An 8-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) providing the highest level of care for critically ill and injured children

As a verified American College of Surgeons Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center, Mission Hospital provides the best pediatric trauma care possible for patients, from newborns to adults. We focus on providing exceptional treatment and family-oriented care to help families get back to enjoying life together.  

A trauma patient’s first line of care often comes from the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers transporting them to the hospital. A seamless transition from ambulance to our trauma bay is critical to every patient. 

Mission Hospital has developed strong relationships with all EMS providers throughout South Orange County over the past 40 years. As a result, we continue to see efficient communication and improved outcomes when patients need us most. 

The Mission Hospital trauma team actively participates in the Regional Emergency Advisory Committee (REAC) meetings. During these meetings we educate and take part in open discussions with the pre-hospital providers who serve our community. This commitment to strengthening our relationships with EMS providers shows in the patient experience: 

  • Throughout all of 2018, Mission Hospital was on trauma diversion for only one hour and 53 minutes, resulting in a 0.02% diversion rate for the entire year.  
  • Throughout 2019, Mission had 0% diversion, demonstrating our ability to fully meet the trauma needs of South Orange County.  

These successes are due in part to our excellent relationships with EMS providers in South Orange County.  

Mission Hospital is also active in the Orange County disaster plan and takes part in hospital-wide training to ensure disaster readiness. The trauma program has assisted in hospital-wide disaster training to ensure frontline caregivers are prepared to manage disaster when it strikes.  

Mission Hospital believes that the best way to treat trauma injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place. With almost 40 years of history as an accredited adult and pediatric Level II Trauma Center, Mission Hospital is familiar with the injuries that our community experiences. Because the health and wellbeing of the South Orange County community is important to us, Mission Hospital provides ongoing public education and resources to improve injury prevention for patients of all ages.  

We take a data-driven approach to understand our community’s greatest needs. We leverage our trauma registry to track the leading causes and contributing factors to our patients’ trauma injuries. Then we create programs that address upstream issues for those most vulnerable.  

Our injury-prevention community resources include: 

  • Educational series 
  • Injury prevention programs 
  • Internal and external events 
  • Clinical resources 

We are here to prevent tragedies now and in the future through proven programs targeted to youth, adults, and our senior communities. 

Mission Hospital currently offers the following community programs:  

Teen South County Safe Rides

This peer-to-peer program is offered to high school teens and youth in need of a ride home. Rides are offered on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the school year and are completely anonymous. 

Mission Hospital has offered this program for more than two decades, with the intent of keeping our teens and roadways safe. Through Teen South County Safe Rides, Mission Hospital works to educate teenagers about the dangers of driving under the influence, and we offer real ways to prevent tragedies.  

Youth Alcohol and Drug Deterrence Program  

For more than 23 years, Mission Hospital has partnered with the South County Municipal Court system and OneOC to offer the Youth Alcohol & Deterrence program.  This four-part program employs a reality-based experience, with the goal of re-directing offenders who demonstrate a tendency towards unlawful acts or potentially harmful behaviors.   

The Youth Alcohol and Drug Deterrence Program has been instrumental in reducing the rate of multiple offenses from over 35% down to 1.4%. In Orange County, we have seen a 21% drop in drivers age 21+ involved in drug and alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes and a 22% drop among drivers 15-20.  

California Youth Services 

For more than 10 years, the Mission Hospital trauma team has assisted with two California Youth Services programs: Juvenile Alcohol & Drug Education (JADE) and the Alternative to Suspension Program. These programs provide preventative education and open discussions about the medical issues we see in our trauma bays. 

California Youth Services is a multi-service nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a variety of programs and services that include education, prevention, intervention, assessment, and counseling. Our goal is to assist and support adolescents, individuals, couples, and families to address life’s challenges, specializing in issues related to school or learning troubles, substance abuse, delinquent behavior, mental health struggles, and families in crisis. 

Stop the Bleed 

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number-one cause of preventable death from trauma. In 2015, Stop the Bleed was launched by the White House to teach clear, uncomplicated actions to control the bleeding of an injured person when medical help is unavailable.  

As a Level II adult-and-pediatric Trauma Center, we believe in the need for public education, so we became advocates of the Stop the Bleed program. Each month, the Mission Hospital trauma team offers a free Stop the Bleed class and has presented this class to several community groups, including: 

  • School districts 
  • City councils  
  • CERT groups  
A Matter of Balance 

According to the CDC, one in every three adults ages 65 or older falls and 2 million are treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries every year. Of these patients, around 50% of those who sustain a fracture do not fully recover. Many lose independence for life. 

Mission Hospital recognizes the link between senior fall prevention and trauma, and we have a strong association with the Orange County Office on Aging to provide education and resources to our senior population. Through this partnership, Mission has brought A Matter of Balance, a nationally recognized, evidenced-based program, to South Orange County seniors. 

Mission Hospital is committed to providing life-saving care to trauma patients, and our trauma care specialists constantly work to improve how we treat trauma injuries. One way we meet this commitment is by maintaining a robust trauma data registry. 

A trauma registry is an encrypted database that allows the tracking of trauma patient data from trauma care centers across the country. This includes, but is not limited to, patient demographics, specific injury of patient, treatment received, length of hospitalization and outcome of the treatments received.  

Our trauma registry not only preserves vital information, it also allows us to improve by: 

  • Enabling the extraction of statistics 
  • Allowing review of trends 
  • Identifying system weaknesses 
  • Guiding performance-improvement opportunities
  • Allowing the physicians to reference how injuries are treated for best patient outcomes 

Mission submits data to the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) - the largest trauma database in the U.S. As a member of the ACS Committee on Trauma, Mission also participates in the Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) which provides a network of data information that drives measures of care, and assists in developing the best practice guidelines for the trauma community. Some of the data points include tracking the management of traumatic brain injuries; blood product delivery; and open fracture practice management. TQIP also looks closely at multiple other data points, compares hospitals against like centers to measure consistency in care, and delivers quarterly reports. The data helps trauma centers deliver the best care, and is also used to educate our community on injury prevention.

Mission Hospital actively communicates with the other three designated Orange County trauma centers to share best practices and improve care for the entire county. Mission maintains membership in the Orange County Trauma Program Manager Collaborative, which focuses on: 

  • Injury prevention
  • Trauma registry initiatives/data management 
  • Quality improvement for trauma care across the continuum 

For more than 40 years, the Mission Hospital Trauma Center has provided award-winning, patient-focused care to South Orange County and north San Diego patients. We are committed to bringing trauma patients of all ages back to enjoying their lives. And that commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed. Our adult and pediatric Level II Trauma Center has been nationally recognized by multiple organizations for our quality of care. 

Award-winning trauma nursing care

Nurses are critical members of our trauma-care team. They provide a continuum of care from the moment patients are admitted until they are discharged. Each trauma nurse has an extensive background in critical care nursing in either the surgical intensive care unit or emergency department. And their commitment to our patients and to their continued education has been nationally recognized.  

Mission Hospital earned a prestigious designation as a member of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (AANC) Magnet Recognition Program®. This highly respected program allows nurses to continue education and development throughout their careers. It supports them in providing the most advanced care to patients.  

In 2019 the Mission Hospital Trauma Nurse Clinician Model was also recognized by the AANC as a best practice in trauma-nursing care.

Stroke and Cardiac Receiving Center 

In addition to being the only trauma center in South Orange County, we are a Joint Commission-designated Comprehensive Stroke Center and a Cardiac Receiving Center.  

The Comprehensive Stroke Center designation is the most demanding stroke certification and is reserved for hospitals that have the ability to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. Our trauma team is highly skilled in neuro trauma in the spine and brain, and our stroke experts are committed to providing the most advanced care to help patients recover quickly and regain independence.  

The Cardiac Receiving Center designation illustrates Mission Hospital’s dedication to improving our cardiac-care performance. We believe in continually evaluating and elevating our care by leveraging data and findings from our trauma registry and from continuing-education opportunities. Our expert cardiac doctors are experienced in providing: 

  • Acute myocardial infarction emergency care 
  • Cardiac rehabilitation 
  • Heart failure diagnosis and care 
  • Cardiac arrest resuscitation 
  • Coronary artery bypass 
  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedure 
  • Valve replacement/repair
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention 
  • ST elevation myocardial infarction emergency care 
  • Arrhythmia management 

Children’s Emergency Receiving Center 

Mission Hospital is an Orange County designated Comprehensive Children’s Emergency Receiving Center. This means we receive Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support pediatric patients from the Emergency Medical System. As South Orange County’s only adult and pediatric Level II Trauma Center, we are committed to providing faster care to our youngest patients when they need us the most.