Newshub headline with Children's Wisconsin logo
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Emergency Department

Children’s Wisconsin Trauma Center recognized as one of the best in the country

Children’s Wisconsin has again been verified as a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This achievement recognizes the hospital’s dedication to providing the best care to all injured kids.

The ACS grants Level I verification — its top distinction — to hospitals that provide the highest quality of care and deliver injury prevention, research and education programs to professionals and the public. Verified trauma centers must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Full-time, 24/7 availability of trauma surgeons and medical specialists and subspecialists

  • Availability of specialized facilities, including emergency services, and an operating room dedicated to and ready for trauma cases

  • Full-time staffing of neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and specially trained trauma nurses, as well as anesthesia services, intensive care units, rehabilitation services, CT, and other imaging facilities available for trauma patients at all times

  • Full-time trauma director, trauma registry, coordinator, outreach programs, and an organized research effort to help direct new innovations in trauma care

“No matter the nature of the injury or when it occurs, we are able to treat any kid that comes through our doors. We’ve always been very proud of that ability,” said David Gourlay, MD, medical director of trauma at Children’s Wisconsin. “Children’s Wisconsin was first verified as a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in 2001 and we consider it a badge of honor. It’s a testament to the skills and dedication of our pediatric experts and the full spectrum of trauma care they provide, from prevention to rehabilitation.”


Children’s Wisconsin offers comprehensive emergency and trauma care 24 hours a day, seven days a week to kids with everything from simple cuts and broken bones to complex, life-threatening injuries. Every year, there are more than 60,000 visits to Children’s Wisconsin’s Emergency Department/Trauma Center, making it one of the busiest centers in the state.

In addition to providing expert care to children with injuries, Children’s Wisconsin promotes injury prevention throughout the state of Wisconsin as the lead agency for Safe Kids Wisconsin and Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin. From teen driving, safe sleep, vaccinations, the Poison Center and car seat programs, Children’s Wisconsin wants our children to be healthy and safe. Since 1995, Children’s Wisconsin Community Services has supported Project Ujima, a violence intervention and prevention program. Working with families, Project Ujima aims to stop the cycle of violent crimes through crisis intervention and case management, social and emotional support, youth development and mentoring, and mental health and medical services.

Children’s Wisconsin is a unique asset in southeastern Wisconsin. It is the only health system that offers subspecialists who are trained specifically and exclusively in pediatrics. It is also the only center that participates in the ACS Pediatric Trauma Quality Improvement Program, which allows it to measure outcomes against all other pediatric trauma centers in the United States to constantly ensure it is providing the highest quality of care.

The Level I Pediatric Trauma Center designation will last for three years, expiring on May 2, 2022.

Founded in 1913, the ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve patient care. The ACS has more than 72,000 members and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world. Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients.