Trauma FAQs


What is trauma?

Trauma is any injury caused by a physical force, most often the consequence of motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, gunshots, fires, burns, stabbing, or blunt impact. Unintended injury is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S.


What is a Trauma Center?

Trauma Centers are designated by county emergency medical services. Designation assures comprehensive services, and allows critically injured patients from throughout the region to be transported directly to our facility, rather than to a hospital which may not have specialists available around the clock or be equipped to treat such patients. The American College of Surgeons developed the standards used in the California Trauma Care system.


Cottage's Trauma Center has three levels of response, depending on the type and number of injuries involved:

  • Tier I responds to injuries or conditions that are severe with high probability for the need for immediate surgical intervention.
  • Tier II injuries are less severe, but may require surgery within an hour.
  • Tier III injuries have a low probability of requiring surgery.

What is the difference between a Trauma Center and an Emergency Department?

An Emergency Department can treat a broad range of medical emergencies, including heart attacks, chest pain, asthma, minor cuts, sprains, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal bleeding. If an injury or illness is serious, a patient will be transferred to a specialty service within the hospital, such as Intensive Care or Cardiac Care. In the case of a severely injured patient, the transfer is transferred to the Trauma Service.


A Level II Trauma Center has a full range of specialists and equipment available 24-hours a day, including general surgery, neurosurgery, and orthopedic services. They are prepared to provide rapid or immediate response to major injury patients. Trauma Care follows a progression that usually includes: pre-hospital care, resuscitation, operative care, critical care, acute recovery, discharge planning & rehabilitation, long-term follow-up, and functional recovery.