Trauma centers are vital community assets. When you or someone you love is severely injured, having fast access to specialized physicians, nurses, resources and equipment can mean the difference between disability and even death.

And research backs this up.

The Centers for Disease Control has reported a 25 percent reduction in deaths for severely injured patients who receive care at a trauma center compared to a non-trauma center. Geisinger- Community Medical Center is Scranton and Lackawanna County's only Level II Trauma Center that treats patients from an additional six counties.

The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma classifies trauma centers as Level I to Level IV - a Level I and II trauma center provides the highest level of trauma care while Level IV trauma centers provide patients with initial trauma care and then, if necessary, transfer them to a higher level of trauma care.

A Level II trauma center provides patients with the highest level of surgical care due to our full range of medical specialists and equipment available 24 hours a day. In order to be considered Level II, our trauma center is required to have surgeons, emergency physicians, anesthesiologists and nurses on duty 24 hours a day.

Most importantly, we not only have in-house general surgeons available 24 hours, but also physicians in varying specialties that are promptly available. Those specialists include orthopedic trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists, emergency medical specialists, internal medicine specialists and critical care specialists.

Having all of these highly-trained physicians and nurses on staff at all hours of the day and night ensures that, no matter the injury, a patient will be treated with the highest degree of care right away. What it comes down to is this: the quicker you get treated, the better your outcome will be. Top that with receiving the best and most specialized care available - and that's what makes a trauma center so vital to all of us.