Pediatric trauma center at University Hospital designated as Level 1

78 percent increase in seriously injured kids since 2010

SAN ANTONIO – A hospital currently known for treating adults suffering from traumatic injuries will now be offering that same level of care to our area's youngest population. University Hospital has been verified as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center by the American College of Surgeons, according to a news release.

The designation means staff are ready to take care of any injured child the moment they arrive at the hospital.

"What it really means is that we take great care of children and we have one of the best outcomes in the country in terms of returning children to the normal environment and their ability to get back to their lives," Lillian Liao, University Hospital pediatric trauma and burn director, said.

Along with taking care of San Antonio kids, the center will serve much of South Texas.

Liao said University Hospital is the only burn center in the region for children. Previously, younger patients were taken to Dallas or Galveston.

"To have a child in the hospital is very taxing, but to have to leave town, leave your work for that care becomes even more taxing for that family," Liao said.

The number of seriously injured children treated at University Hospital has risen by 78 percent since 2010.

To earn the Level 1 pediatric trauma center status the hospital demonstrated expertise in treatment, prevention, research, education and rehabilitation when it comes to injuries.

"Most children who are injured in a car crash are injured with their parents. this is the only facility where both can get treated and it's so important to the families to be able to be together," Liao said.

San Antonio Military Medical Center is also a Level 1 trauma center that receives patients from across South Texas, but it only treats adults.

Before the designation, the only Level 1 pediatric trauma centers in the state were in Austin, Dallas and Houston.