So you’ve finally settled into life in the mountains while visiting Glenwood Springs, when suddenly you feel as though you’ve caught the flu. Your son leaves you in your hotel room to rest and goes out for a hike when he twists and sprains his ankle, and your wife caught her finger in the car door on the way to retrieve him from the trailhead.
Your spouse and child need an emergency room.
According to Vickie Smith, Valley View Hospital’s Emergency Department director, most cases the Valley View ER encounters are those suffering from effects of high-altitude, sports-related injuries such as fractures and sprains and then underlying medical conditions that emerge without warning.
“You never know when you will need medical help,” says Smith.
Our region has ERs in Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Rifle and Vail. Valley View’s emergency room is located on the campus of VVH, 1906 Blake Ave., between 19th and 20th avenues, on the east side of Glenwood Springs.
“Some people come to Glenwood Springs for a visit and say ‘I’ll go to the doctor when I get back home,’ or they missed an appointment and decided not to go the doctor. Suddenly those symptoms increase and they need immediate help,” Smith says. The ER can be appropriate for such a case.
Smith notes the emergency room at Valley View Hospital is a Trauma III facility, with two physicians and a minimum of two registered nurses during the busier afternoon and evening hours. The ER uses a triage process for incoming patients, assessing severity of injury or need and treats patients accordingly.
Verified by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma, a Level III Trauma Center is able to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, stabilization of injured patients and emergency operations. Level III Trauma Centers also include 24-hour immediate coverage by emergency medicine physicians and the prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists.
Trauma centers also are able to transfer patients quickly to other hospitals should a Level I or Level II Trauma Center be needed. Valley View has a permanent heli-stop, located just outside the emergency room doors.
Broken arms, twisted knees, heart attacks and even foreign objects — such as Legos — stuffed into the nasal cavity are among the most common injuries and incidents seen at the Valley View ER.
Smith said most ER patients at Valley View will see a nurse within 15 minutes, and a physician within 30 minutes.
“We’re ready for everything,” says Smith.