New Parkland installs high-speed elevators for trauma patients

Designed to quickly move critically injured

February 24, 2014

Two special elevators designed to expedite care of trauma patients are now installed in the new Parkland hospital, ready to play a life-saving role when the facility opens in 2015. They’re fast, traveling at a speed of 600 feet per minute, but the ride is smooth. It takes just 32 seconds to go from the helipad down 18 floors to the Emergency Department and Trauma Center on the first floor of the new facility.

Parkland was the first Level I Trauma Center in North Texas and is a leader in trauma management and disaster preparedness, implementing processes that have been adopted by others around the world. A total of 8,168 trauma patients were evaluated and managed at Parkland in 2013, with approximately 3,000 trauma admissions through the Trauma Center. More than 700 trauma patients from across Texas and throughout the region were transferred to Parkland via helicopter last year.

In trauma situations where patients arrive by helicopter, timeliness of care is critical. The elevators in the new acute care tower ensure that transport from helicopter to the Trauma Center does not delay life-saving care.

“The critical issue for the trauma patient is airway management, breathing and circulation,” stated Jorie Klein, Director, Trauma Disaster and Management at Parkland. “Airway management is at risk during movement of a patient who has an airway compromise or has been intubated (has a breathing tube). The goal for the severely and critically injured patient is to be in the trauma bays with the trauma team and have the airway, breathing and circulation assessed with interventions begun within five to six minutes of the patient’s arrival at Parkland. The elevators assist us in moving the patient expeditiously to the trauma bays, ensuring timely assessments and interventions leading to optimal outcomes.”

The elevators are 7 feet by 11 feet, large enough for a seven-person trauma team that includes two surgeons, two nurses, a respiratory therapist and two flight crew members, plus as many as 10 additional staff members, to escort a patient from the helipad to the operating room for care. The elevators also have a badge-access feature so medical personnel can override the elevator’s normal floor-by-floor stopping function to instead travel straight to the first floor Trauma Center.

Another unique time-saving feature is the “Destination Dispatch” system, which will be used on all non-visitor elevators serving the new Parkland hospital’s acute care tower and Women and Infants’ Specialty Health tower. Once the rider selects the floor from a touch screen, the screen tells the rider which elevator cab to get into. The system makes a computerized calculation based on the elevator car positions, directions the elevator cars are traveling and speeds at which they are traveling, helping minimize wait times and run the cars more efficiently.

The new Parkland hospital is scheduled to be completed in August 2014 and open to the public in spring 2015.

For more information on new Parkland construction, please visit:

Parkland Foundation

2777 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 1700
Dallas, Texas 75207
Phone: 214.266.2000 | Fax: 214.266.2050

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