MUSC Children's Hospital serves as state's lone Level 1 pediatric trauma center

MUSC Children's Hospital is now designated a Level 1 trauma center for pediatrics. (Scott Garrand/WCIV)

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Grace Connor can't wait to get back on her feet. The 13-year-old West Ashley eighth grader is getting ready for volleyball tryouts at her school, which is in a few weeks.

Right now, her left foot is covered in gauze after an oyster bed cut she go on Saturday. Her mother, Kim, says it didn't look serious, but when it turned red, they went to a pediatrician just to be sure.

The pediatrician sent Grace to MUSC's Children's Hospital. At the hospital's trauma center, surgeons removed pieces of oyster shells still inside Grace Connor's foot. Kim says the hospital's staff is making their stay as painless as possible.

"You're thinking 'oh dear,' but everything from parking to coming through the front door, it was painless," she said.

Grace and her mother were happy to hear the latest designation given to the pediatric hospital -- Level 1 trauma.

"It was really scary at first, because I didn't really know what was going to happen. But, when I got here everyone was really nice, and I feel good," Grace Potter said.

It's not only the bedside manner that has the hospital high among the ranks. Dr. Chris Streck, pediatric surgeon and the pediatric trauma medical director says there is much more to the high level of treatment provided.

"The volume and quality of care here at MUSC in regards to treating the injured child is at a very high level, and we've demonstrated that," Dr. Streck said. "Another important part of it is having a lot of physicians that are trained specifically to take care of children."

It took several years to earn the designation, according to Dr. Keith Borg, an assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine at MUSC.

"It's the quality of the care, the nursing teams, the physician teams, the training they've had, the certification for trauma as well as the research, the injury prevention, the community outreach, all those pieces together," Dr. Borg said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) injuries are the number one cause of death among children. In 2009, 9,000 kids died of injuries.

For parents like Connor, who lives in West Ashley, the new trauma designation is a comforting security blanket. They say it is good to know MUSC's children's hospital is close-by.

"You don't appreciate them until you need them," Kim Potter said.