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Trauma Center

Since 1976, UC San Diego Health System has served as a regional Trauma Center for the citizens of San Diego and Imperial counties. Our leadership in improving the special care needed by people who have been critically injured is recognized worldwide. 

Trauma is Life-Threatening Injury

New Trauma Center

In 2013, UC San Diego Health System’s Level 1 Trauma Center opened a new, state-of-the art Trauma Resuscitation Unit to provide the highest quality of comprehensive care to a larger number of severely injured patients.

The most common causes of trauma are motor vehicle collisions, falls and violence. Trauma is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people ages 1 to 44, and costs approximately $260 billion annually. Other forms of trauma include drowning, gunshots, fires and burns. Trauma can be intentional or accidental. It is usually preventable.

Excellence in Trauma Care

UC San Diego Health System operates the region’s first Level 1 Trauma Center. Directed by Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD, the Trauma Center is part of the San Diego Trauma System, a collaborative, life-saving, countywide effort of six hospitals.

Fewer than 8 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have a trauma center. San Diego leads the nation in effective trauma care.

UC San Diego Trauma Center responds to the highest level of critical injury. Equipped with special facilities, advanced technology and highly trained personnel, the Trauma Center operates 24/7 and admits over 3200 patients a year who have experienced severe injury.

bullet Prevention

The most effective force against traumatic injury is prevention. As a part of our commitment to the highest level of trauma care, we play a significant role in prevention programs throughout San Diego. Our team is conducting and using new research to implement programs shown to reduce injuries and trauma. Also read more about research and clinical trials related to trauma.

Transport and Pre-Hospital System

"Trauma is not just something that happens to other people. It’s not just a paragraph in a police report. Trauma is a disease that could affect anyone, but more importantly, it is something that we can all prevent.”

- Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD
Whether arriving by helicopter or ambulance, coordination of care begins before you get to the hospital. Paramedics communicate by radio with mobile intensive care nurses and doctors to rapidly review criteria of your condition. Individuals with serious multi-system injuries, those requiring resuscitation or immediate surgical intervention will be brought directly to the Trauma Center resuscitation suite or operating room, bypassing the Emergency Department.

24/7 Multidisciplinary Care

Patients are seen by a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including trauma surgeons, trauma nurses, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons and spine specialists. All of our surgeons are board certified in surgical critical care. These specialists make rapid surgical assessment of your condition, prioritizing procedures to best address complex surgical needs that frequently arise in traumatic injury situations. The trauma team stays with you, and coordinates the involvement of other specialists or your other doctors while you’re in the Trauma Center.

Setting the Bar

The trauma bays, resuscitation suites and surgical intensive care unit (SICU) at UC San Diego Health System are equipped with leading-edge monitoring, imaging and life support technologies. Following surgical intensive care, patients enter the surgical progressive care unit while recuperating from traumatic injury. This provides care from a consistent team of specialists and nursing staff, and eliminates trauma patients from having to be transported to other areas of the hospital.

Because of our focus on research and evaluation of the crucial processes involved in saving lives, we have achieved the highest level of trauma care in the nation.

By providing truly comprehensive care for trauma patients – from intensive care through progressive care and rehabilitation – the Trauma Center remains committed to decreasing the mortality rate from traumatic injuries in the San Diego region.

Trauma Center

Call 619-543-7200

UC San Diego Medical Center

Meet the Trauma Team

UC San Diego Health System Links

School of Medicine Links

Trauma Research Studies

Discover clinical trials happening in trauma care.

Support advances in trauma care

Make a financial gift to the Trauma Center.

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