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UNC Hospitals top in region for pediatric trauma care

Posted January 24

— UNC Hospitals tops the Triangle in childhood trauma care after its Pediatric Trauma Center earned Level 1 certification this month – the first in the region and one of only two in the state.

The center, verified by the American College of Surgeons, joins 40 pediatric trauma centers in the nation that have met rigorous standards in injury prevention education programs, coordination with Emergency Medical Services and constant performance checks.

“Having good patient care is not enough to have a Level 1 trauma center,” said Dr. Kimberly Erickson, a pediatric surgeon and the medical director of the trauma center.

UNC is now prepared to tackle the toughest cases of childhood injury, which is the leading cause of death for American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unintentional injuries kill 25 children a day in the United States.

Seven-year-old Lilli Goins doesn’t remember much about the trauma center – or the 2012 car accident near her Pembroke home that sent her there -- but its care saved her life. Erickson was one of the doctors that treated her.

“We were very worried,” Erickson said. “Probably one of the sickest patients we’d seen that entire year.”

Lilli’s grandmother, Millie Jacobs, was driving with Lilli, her twin sister London and her 20-year-old brother when a car struck theirs from the side, leaving Lilli with life-threatening injuries.

Both Lilli and her grandmother were airlifted to UNC Hospitals, where they recovered, though Lilli still has some short-term memory issues.

“I think all of us are still in disbelief that she was able to be returning to school and living a normal life, totally neurologically intact,” Erickson said.

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