The Seton Healthcare Family has long been the leading provider of healthcare services in Central Texas, including offering the highest level of trauma care in the nation. Seton is home to the only two Level I Trauma Centers serving all of Central Texas.

Emergency Care vs. Trauma Care: What’s the Difference?

An emergency room is specially staffed and equipped to handle nearly any medical issue that could arise. This includes very serious concerns, like a heart attack, to less immediate ones, like a sprained wrist.

Trauma centers are part of the emergency room system, and focus specifically on life-threatening medical situations. Serious burns, blunt trauma, brain injuries and severe car accidents are all examples of incidents that could require trauma center treatment. The decision about whether a medical issue should be treated in the ER or in a trauma center is made by a medical provider.

Trauma centers are categorized by the American Trauma Society according to the number of patients admitted and types of services provided. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) verifies the presence of resources that are recommended by the American Trauma Society for optimal patient care. Verification of a trauma center is a voluntary process that takes three years to complete.

Because pediatric and adult trauma services are classified separately, a single trauma center can carry more than one designation. For example, a Level I adult facility can also be a Level II pediatric facility. Trauma categories and designations also vary according to state and municipality.

Level I Trauma Centers

The most comprehensive level of trauma care, a Level I Trauma Center is equipped and staffed around the clock to address a full range of medical conditions from prevention all the way through rehabilitation. A Level I Trauma Center also serves as a referral and educational resource for the surrounding community. University Medical Center Brackenridge and Dell Children’s Medical Center are both designated as Level I Trauma Centers.

Level II Trauma Centers

Level II Trauma Centers are fully prepared to initiate a range of comprehensive care options for patients. More complex cases may require referral and transfer to a Level I Trauma Center. As our only Level II Trauma Center, Seton Medical Center Williamson maintains all the necessary resources to immediately care for severely injured patients 24 hours a day.

Level III Trauma Centers

A Level III Trauma Center can demonstrate the ability to promptly assess and stabilize injured patients as well as offer surgery, intensive care services and emergency operations.

Level IV Trauma Centers

The focus of a Level IV Trauma Center is to evaluate, diagnose and stabilize injured patients. Level IV Trauma Centers can provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) before transferring patients to a higher level of trauma care.

Level V Trauma Centers

At a Level V Trauma Center, patients are evaluated, diagnosed and stabilized before being prepared for transfer to more advanced levels of trauma care.

Trauma Care at Seton

Both University Medical Center Brackenridge and Dell Children’s Medical Center have been named by the State of Texas, in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons, as the only Level I Trauma Centers in Central Texas. This designation reflects our record of excellence in emergency care for both adults and children, our medical expertise and our dedication to research and evidence-based practice.

Emergency Care at Seton

Seton Healthcare Family offers comprehensive emergency care across Central Texas. 24-hour emergency services are available at:

Should the need arise, access to our award-winning care is close at hand. For mini emergencies at select locations, schedule an ER appointment online and you’ll be seen within 15 minutes of your requested appointment time.

When injury or illness strikes, Seton Healthcare Family has the resources and experience to care for you or your loved ones.

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Emergency Care

Not all emergency care situations involve acute physical injury. For those in need of immediate psychiatric care or emergency care due to substance abuse issues, Seton maintains a Psychiatric Emergency Services Department at UMC Brackenridge to meet the needs of people in crisis. Psychiatric emergency services are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.