Level I Trauma Center in McAllen, Texas

South Texas Health System (STHS) McAllen's Emergency Department is designated a Level I Trauma Center by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the American College of Surgeons – Committee on Trauma, which means we have the manpower and resources needed to provide the highest level of care before, during and after a trauma event. In 2019, STHS McAllen became the first Level II Trauma Center and only ACS Verified Level II Trauma Center in Hidalgo County. In 2022, the facility's designation was upped to a Level I Trauma Center.

What Is Level I Trauma Care?

Our Level I Trauma Center is capable of providing comprehensive care for every aspect of injury – from prevention through rehabilitation. We are able to initiate definitive care for all injured patients, including 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, and coverage by specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care. We also provide trauma prevention and continuing education programs for our staff, and maintain a comprehensive quality assessment program.

Join the Trauma Survivors Network

The mission of the TSN is to help trauma survivors and their families rebuild their lives after experiencing a traumatic injury.

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Patient Story: Quique Rodriguez

Enrique "Quique" Rodriguez was involved in a serious car accident. The trauma team at South Texas Health System McAllen helped save his life. Quique is now almost fully recovered and is studying to become a nurse. Watch his story:

Education and Community Outreach

STHS McAllen is committed to educating all members of the care team and the general public — from field emergency medical providers, physicians and nurses, to teens and their parents. We provide the following:

  • Advanced Trauma Life Support Course of the American College of Surgeons (ATLS)
  • Stop the Bleed (STB)
  • Reality Education for Drivers (RED Program)
  • Mental Health First Aid Training
  • Critical Incident Stress Management
  • Local pre-hospital provider continuing medical education as requested

Our trauma team is also focused on injury prevention. We have a dedicated injury prevention team committed to identifying patterns of injury and directing our prevention efforts accordingly. Areas of focus include:

  • Falls prevention
  • Bike safety
  • All-terrain vehicle safety
  • Distracted-driving safety
  • Pedestrian-related injuries
  • Construction-related injuries
  • Alcohol and drug related injuries

Learn more about injury prevention →

Trauma Surgery and the Importance of Injury Prevention

Dr. LeRone Simpson, Trauma and Critical Care Surgeon at STHS McAllen, shares insights on trauma surgery and the importance of injury prevention.

Read More and Watch the Video

Cutting-edge Trauma Research

Research into advanced methods and processes of care is a core function of the trauma team at STHS McAllen. We currently have active protocols evaluating medications that may improve outcomes following brain injury, methods to rapidly diagnose coagulopathy, and advanced methods to treat severe chest injury, such as rib plating reconstructive surgery.

Trauma Physician Team

Trauma Physicians

L to R: Dr. Rendon, Dr. Hovorka,
Dr. Simpson and Dr. Palacio

Carlos H. Palacio, MD, FACS

Dr. Palacio is the Director of Research for the trauma program and Director for the Advanced Trauma and Life Support course at STHS McAllen. He is also the local Program Director of the General Surgery Residency at the Valley Health System GME Consortium, and an instructor for the American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleeding class.

John W. Hovorka, MD, FACS

Dr. Hovorka is the Trauma Medical Director at STHS McAllen. He is the local Associate Program Director of the General Surgery Residency at the Valley Health System GME Consortium. He is also a Volunteer Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley General Surgery Department and Family Medicine Department.

J. Jesus Rendon, MD, FACS, DABS

Dr. Rendon is the Associate Trauma Medical Director at STHS McAllen. He also serves as the Program Site Director for San Antonio Brooke Army Medical Center Acute Care Surgery and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship. He is committed to teaching and mentoring residents, fellows and medical students.

LeRone Simpson, MD, FACS

Dr. Simpson is a board-certified General Surgeon and Surgical Critical Care Intensivist. He has been serving the RGV since 2016 as a Trauma Surgeon at STHS McAllen. He has continued interest in research and is involved in several ongoing clinical research projects.

Educational Resources

Learn more about trauma care from our physicians and access valuable trauma training courses and information.

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Contact Us

For more information, please contact:
Ruby Bautista
Trauma Services Manager

Veronica Silva
Injury Preventionist, Trauma Services