On Aug. 1, the state designated the Denton Regional Medical Center as a Level-III trauma center.
Last year, county residents had more than 1,000 such injuries, including gunshot wounds, stabbings and broken bones, most of which were treated in cities other than Denton.
"Ambulance drivers wouldn't even look this direction because we weren't able to provide that level of care," said Dr. Jason West, DRMC trauma medical director.
But the hospital has added staff and technology. Over the last two years, it has proved it can treat the kinds of injuries that patients had traveling to Dallas or Fort worth.
"Previously all these patients would have been taken to Parkland or JPS," West said. "They're now being kept locally."
Patients now get a quicker response time when seconds count most. Ambulances arrive at the hospital 30 to 45 minutes faster, with response rates cut even shorter when there is bad traffic on the way to Dallas or Fort Worth.
"Getting them to the closest capable facility is important," DRMC CEO Caleb O'Rear said.
Patients are also able to stay closer to home for the time they're admitted. West said travel to and from Dallas or Fort Worth can present a financial hardship for some families.
"When you're alone in a hospital bed, it becomes a very depressing situation, so people who are injured have a better outcome when they're closer to home, in my opinion," he said.
DRMC does not plan to further expand to become a Level-II trauma center. But administrators said the hospital's Level-III designation should lessen the burden on Parkland Hospital in Dallas and John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, allowing those facilities to concentrate on the most critically injured patients.