Fort Walton Beach, FL — Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has received official designation as a Level II Trauma Center from the State of Florida. This comes just two weeks after FWBMC received final verification from the American College of Surgeons.

When emergency medical services personnel respond to critically injured patients, they transport them to the nearest trauma center capable of providing appropriate treatment. Prior to June 2015, many patients in Walton and Okaloosa counties were transported more than 40 miles to the nearest trauma center. The availability of a trauma center in Okaloosa County reduces transport times for many patients during the “golden hour” – a 60-minute window for bringing patients to a designated trauma center. Multiple studies, including a Sept. 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery, show that the sooner care is given within that hour, the better the outcome. Trauma is the leading cause of death among Floridians under the age of 44, and Florida’s death rate for trauma remains higher than the national average.

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is affiliated with Florida’s first and largest statewide network of trauma centers, developed as an affiliation between the University of South Florida (USF) and HCA to improve access and outcomes of injured patients. These trauma centers provide:

  • 24/7 in-house coverage by a trauma surgeon
  • 24/7 access to specialty and non-specialty surgeons and physicians
  • 24/7 on-call neurosurgeons
  • 24/7 on-site anesthesia provider, surgical services team and trauma-trained nurses

Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, said: “Meeting our community’s urgent need for specialized trauma care has been a tremendous privilege, and we are thankful for the continued opportunity to serve trauma patients and their families. I want to think all of our physicians, EMS, first responders and the community for all their support to become a much needed Level II trauma center.”