Lee Health’s trauma center has moved after the hospital system spent $315 million to expand Gulf Coast Medical Center.
The move from Lee Memorial Hospital to Gulf Coast Medical Center became official Wednesday morning. Lee Health’s trauma center is the only one between Sarasota and Miami.
The reason for the move, according to Lee Health, is Southwest Florida’s population continues to grow and so do the number of trauma patients.
In order to keep up, the hospital system needed more space and high-end equipment. The trauma center at Lee Memorial Hospital was also in need of an upgrade.
Doctors say it’s a huge improvement over the old one.
“We have a bigger ICU, we have a new facility,” said Dr. James Kasiewicz, medical director for trauma services at Gulf Coast Medical Center. “We are able to better climate control our trauma base, much bigger areas in the trauma bays. They’re beautiful.”
Lee Health’s trauma center treats about 2,400 traumatically-injured patients each year.
And trauma alerts continue to go up from vehicle crashes, falls and even gunshot wounds.
At Gulf Coast, there are 624 in-patient beds.
“Over 90% of our traumas are blunt traumas and that falls, motor vehicle crashes, motorcycle crashes, and about a little bit less than 10% are penetrating trauma, which is stabbings and gunshot wounds,” Kasiewicz said.
Kasiewicz said the move to a location closer to I-75 is critical to saving lives.
“We’ll be able to get them quicker here and get them to the trauma center so we can manage them,” he said. “We always talk about the golden hours. So it’s really important to get to the patients quickly to treat them.”
Now that the trauma center is relocated, Lee Memorial will begin the transitions to a hospital with all private rooms.
Moving the trauma center is part of a much larger Lee Health expansion plan.
There’s a new hospital in the works along Challenger Boulevard and another facility planned in Cape Coral.