RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Riverside Community Hospital is one of the busiest in the Inland Empire, and it's also now the county's first and only Level 1 trauma center after earning the accreditation earlier this month.
"You have basically a lot of these services available, so cardiothoracic surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and a lot of subspecialty services that are all really able to take care of a critically injured patient," said Dina Elias, with Riverside Community Hospital.
The designation comes two years after the hospital invested $400 million in a patient tower while also expanding its emergency services to the community.
Annually, its emergency room cares for 124,000 patients, 4,000 of them are trauma patients.
With the coronavirus pandemic, doctors and nurses there are treating critically ill patients infected with the virus.
"We just expanded to an overflow unit, so we have a medical intensive care unit where we house our COVID patients as well as all the other various levels of care," said Annette Greenwood, chief nursing officer.
The hospital is the second Level 1 trauma hospital in the region, joining Loma Linda University Medical Center as a training and research center for advances in critical care.
For residents, it means having access to specialists when it matters most at all times.
"When they come here as a trauma patient, they get the full spectrum of care," Elias said.
Today, the hospital has saved the lives of 550 COVID-19 patients, and it will be among 10 Level 1 trauma centers across the Southern California region.