How COVID-19 Is Affecting The State’s Only Level 1 Trauma Center

Friday, September 17th 2021, 5:46 pm


The latest COVID-19 surge has put a strain on hospitals across the state, especially the state’s only Level 1 trauma center at OU Medical Center.  

During the first few months of the pandemic, OU Med’s trauma center medical director said trauma cases decreased but turned around and they saw an uptick starting last June.

"We saw that increase in violence and then we started again to see the car crashes," OU Med’s Trauma Center medical director Dr. Roxie Albrecht said. "The ATV crashes. The gravity the falls from standing."

For 20 years, OU Health has been home to the state's only Level 1 trauma center where they care for the most critically injured and ill patients.

"These are time-sensitive things," Dr. Albrecht said. "You need that care now, and we are available for that immediately upon your arrival."

Dr. Albrecht said COVID-19 has strained staff and resources inside the trauma center, especially bed capacity.

"We've had patients come in from parts of the state we wouldn't have had before and from surrounding states," Dr. Albrecht said.

It's a delicate balance to care for all patients, including those battling COVID-19, while also making sure there is room at the trauma center.

Trauma surgeon Dr. David Teague said they must make room for the life and death situations.

"If we accept a trauma patient from another hospital and that trauma patient has multiple injuries, she may be here for 10 to 20 days,” Dr. Teague said. “That is a bed that can't go to a different patient. It can't go to a cancer patient (or) a COVID patient. And that is one of our missions and obligations being the state's only Level 1 trauma center is to be here for those patients."

Over the past two years, Dr. Albrecht said they have seen nearly 1,000 more trauma patients than normal.


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