AUSTIN (KXAN) - Wednesday marks the 46th anniversary of the notorious 1966 UT Tower shooting rampage that left 17 dead and 32 injured, including the shooter Charles Whitman.
The first victim that day arrived at 12:12 p.m. at University Medical Center Brackenridge, then called simply Brackenridge Hospital. Victims arrived at a rate of one every two minutes during the first hour of the shooting.
And it's UMCB's expertise in trauma care that officials are applauding still today.
Texas Department of State Health Services officials have redesignated the medical center to a Level I trauma center for adults. The medical center is Central Texas' only health care facility that offers 24-hour treatment for all adult medical emergencies, including finger- and limb reattachment.
Meanwhile, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, also owned and operated by Seton, is the region's only Level I trauma center for pediatric patients.
Originally deemed a Level I facility in 2009, the state designation is valid for only three years.
In order to keep that designation, both UMCB and Dell Children's are increasing trauma research and education activities, as well as providing special procedures.
"The academic world really drives things in the practice of medicine in terms of bringing about change and improving patient care," said UMCB Trauma Services Medical Director Dr. Carlos Brown. "We are ramping up our research activities dramatically, building on Seton and Central Health investments in the Seton Brain and Spine Institute, the Seton Reconstructive Surgery Institute, the Seton Heart Institute and other life-saving and life-improving programs."
Both medical centers provide specialists in neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, oral and maxillofacial surgery and critical care.
"This redesignation reassures Central Texans that the best trauma care, on par with any big city in the nation, is available to them locally," said Greg Hartman, UMCB president and chief executive officer. "In addition, increasing medical research is having the direct impact of improving patient care, expanding treatment options and attracting top-level medical talent to our community."
UMCB hosted a ceremony Wednesday at the Tranquility Garden at the Clinical Education Center at Brackenridge, featuring a moment of silence for the victims of the 1966 shooting and the unveiling of a historical artifact.
The Austin Police Department presented that artifact, a plaque, back in 1966 to UMCB applauding hospital staff for their remarkable response on that dreadful day.
The plaque is now displayed at UMCB with a historical photo taken at the hospital on Aug. 1, 1966.
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