The Lawrence General Hospital team is celebrating its reverification of the Level III trauma center within the hospital’s Emergency Center. As a result, patients with traumatic injuries in need of specialized care can rest assured that LGH has the necessary tools and staff to address any case.
Following a recent visit by the American College of Surgeons, our trauma program — led by Trauma Medical Director Dr. Earl Gonzales and Program Manager Abigail Wertz, RN — has been verified through 2025.
This year’s assessment, which took place in October, ensures Lawrence General has the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, as well as the entire spectrum of care to address needs of all injured patients. According to Wertz, surveyors looked at Lawrence General’s ability to deliver care from the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.
Lawrence General was praised for its hospital-run EMS system, which offers pre-hospital care and provides advanced life support to surrounding communities. In addition, Wertz said the ACS applauded the “cooperative environment” of the hospital’s Emergency Center, while specifically noting the collaboration between its emergency and anesthesia teams.
“The hospital has dedicated and talented employees that are willing to go above and beyond in the care of the trauma patient and in response to disasters in the community,” the agency said, according to Wertz.
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association founded in 1913 to raise surgical standards and practices to improve patient care. The ACS does not designate trauma centers – that is done by the state of Massachusetts, who determined that there was a need for a trauma center in our region and designated Lawrence General Hospital as that trauma center. The level of a trauma center (Level I to Level V) refers to the resources available to care for a trauma patient, with a Level I center being able to provide the highest level of care.
Once Lawrence General was designated as a trauma center by the state, the ACS sends site reviewers to the hospital on a regular basis to assess a series of policies and protocols outlined in “Resources for the Optimal Care of the Injured Patient” manual.
According to the ACS, a Level III trauma center must provide prompt assessment, management, surgery, and stabilization for trauma patients – all of which are assessed when surveyors visit for reverification purposes. The hospital must offer 24-hour access to emergency physicians, offer an outreach education program for prevention of traumatic injuries, and offer continuing education for staff involved in trauma care.
Lawrence General was the first Level III trauma center in Massachusetts to be verified by the ACS, said Gonzales, who praises hospital leadership — including President & CEO Deborah J. Wilson — for their “consistent and utmost support” of the program as it continues to evolve. Since 2000, the hospital has provided trauma care to patients in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire.
Those in the hospital’s Emergency Center who work alongside the trauma team praised the group for its efforts to get the hospital reverified.
“The Emergency Center is proud of the positive feedback received at our most recent ACS survey as well as our continued accreditation as a Level III trauma center,” Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Omer Moin said. “All of the staff in the Lawrence General Emergency Center continued to remain prepared for our trauma patients and take great pride in our collaborative approach to trauma care with our extended trauma team.”
Senior Director of Ambulatory Services Kim Moriarty, RN, calls Lawrence General’s Level III trauma center “invaluable” to the community.
“As the only designated trauma hospital in our area we care for the sickest patients. The staff throughout the continuum of care are well trained professionals dedicated to the best possible patient outcomes,” Moriarty said, adding that the group also hosts “Stop the Bleed” community education classes and free bicycle helmet giveaways and car seat fittings as outreach activities. “The Merrimack Valley is lucky to have the Level III trauma team and we are proud to serve our community.”