Oregon Health & Science University is a Level 1 Trauma center authorized by the Oregon Department of Human Services: health services, emergency medical services and trauma systems to provide tertiary trauma care. For over decade, OHSU Hospital and Doernbecher Children's Hospital have provided exceptional clinical care to traumatically injured patients, serving as the only academic Level 1 trauma center in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon's statewide trauma system is based on landmark legislation. Statutory authority was passed in 1985 by the State Legislature as ORS 431.607 - 431.633 under the leadership of the president of the Oregon Senate, John Kitzhaber, M.D., and signed into law by Governor Victor G. Atiyeh. With the implementation of the trauma system in May of 1988, only two Oregon hospitals, Portland's OHSU and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, were designated as Level 1 trauma centers. Injured individuals within the four-county Portland metropolitan region and identified by pre-hospital rescue personnel or emergency medical technicians as meeting the criteria for service injury are transported to one of these two designated Level 1 trauma centers.
Oregon's statewide trauma system was implemented between 1987 and 1991. Research studies performed before and after this statewide implementation indicated important and beneficial improvements of the trauma system on inter-hospital transfer practices. Not only were more seriously injured patients transferred to the Level 1 and Level 2 trauma centers in the state, but these transfers were accomplished more quickly, resulting in injured patients receiving expedient and definitive treatment.