WILLMAR - In recognition of the care it provides for trauma patients, Rice Memorial Hospital has been presented with a “Partner in Trauma Excellence” award from Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

The award was presented Thursday during a trauma review meeting at Rice in Willmar.

Rice Hospital has been a designated Level 3 trauma center since 2010. It has the capacity to evaluate, stabilize and treat trauma patients and, if necessary, transfer them to a Level 1 tertiary facility such as HCMC.

HCMC was the first hospital in Minnesota, and one of the first in the country, to be verified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level I trauma center in 1989. It also has the largest emergency room in the state. Life-saving care often begins, however, at hospitals miles away from HCMC, such as in Willmar.

Dr. Chad Richardson, director of trauma services at HCMC, said that the excellent care the Willmar hospital provides makes his job as a trauma surgeon much easier.

“When a critically injured patient arrives from Rice Memorial Hospital, I always know that every step has been completed to ensure that the patient is ready for more definitive care of his or her injuries,” he said in a statement. “Patients in the Willmar area are very fortunate to have these medical professionals dedicated to excellence in trauma and critical care.”

Celebrating its 25th year as Minnesota’s first Level I Trauma Center, Hennepin County Medical Center is a comprehensive academic medical center and public teaching hospital with the largest emergency department in the state. In addition to the 462-bed acute care hospital and primary care and specialty clinics located in downtown Minneapolis, Hennepin offers primary care clinics in Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin County.

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