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Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Centennial earns level III trauma center designation

Offering advanced medical technology, Baylor Scott & White is able to treat trauma, stroke and stroke-like conditions.
Baylor Scott & White has been recognized for helping military veterans find and keep jobs and transition into the civilian world | Image courtesy of Baylor Scott & White – Centennial

Offering advanced medical technology, Baylor Scott & White is able to treat trauma, stroke and stroke-like conditions. At Baylor Scott & White – Centennial, residents of Frisco and its surrounding cities have a place to go to in the event of a stroke or aneurysm. As a certified stroke center and a level III Trauma Center, the team at Baylor Scott & White – Centennial is able to treat a multitude of conditions.

“At Baylor Scott & White – Centennial, our commitment to patient safety is exemplified by both our Advanced (level III) Trauma Center designation and our existing Joint Commission Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Center designation,” says Eric Beshires, MD, CMO/Vice President of Medical Affairs. “Through our participation in the Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center Certification process as well as the American Trauma Society verification process, our team of professionals must analyze performance data, initiate process improvement cycles and reflect on those improvements. All of these efforts are very consistent with our commitment to safety and a constant driving force in patient care at Baylor Scott & White – Centennial.”

Overseeing the emergency department and intensive care unit at Baylor Scott & White – Centennial is Carleen Merola, MSN, RN, TCRN, PCCN, the hospital’s nurse manager for critical care. Merola takes pride in working for a system that specializes in various realms of care.

“We are able to take care of anything from a patient who falls down and breaks his or her hips, to someone who’s in a severe car accident, to someone who might have a penetrating trauma, such as a gunshot wound or stabbing wounds,” Merola says. “We’re pretty much able to take care of any age, any patient and anybody that walks through our door with any traumatic mechanism.”

Merola credits Baylor Scott & White – Centennial’s success to long-standing employees, who have worked for the system for many years. With each year, Merola believes each medical professional grows in credibility.

“Most of the physicians on our medical staff and a lot of our nurses have actually been with Baylor Scott & White – Centennial since it opened, 15 years ago,” Merola says. “I think that longevity and really knowing a system and knowing the people and the team that we deal with, day in and day out, really sets us apart. We know our co-workers better than we know our own family members because we spend so much time together. We work at a very high level together to reach a good outcome for our patients.”

One of the medical professionals who has worked for Baylor Scott & White – Centennial since its opening is David Arai, MD, Medical Director of Stroke Program. Dr. Arai is a board-certified emergency medicine specialist with over 25 years of experience. Within the stroke and trauma center, Dr. Arai and his team are able to quickly treat patients in the event of emergencies.

“We can comprehensively take care of anything stroke-wise up to invasive intervention,” Dr. Arai says. “We are able to take care of aneurysms and generally acute strokes that need life steadying intervention with clot-busting medication.” 

The clot-busting medication, called TPA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator), works by dissolving blood clots causing a blockage or disruption in the flow of blood to the brain. Following the dissolution of the blood clot, TPA then works to restore the blood flow. Both Dr. Arai and Carleen Merola note that some of the behaviors that lead to strokes are drug use, smoking, sedentary lifestyles and high blood pressure. Dr. Arai says that some patients may not even be aware of their own health conditions.

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“One of the things that I would recommend that I think a lot of people don’t do is to see their primary doctor for regular check-ups,” Dr. Arai says. “There’s a lot of high blood pressure that goes undiagnosed, mostly because the patient might be seemingly unsymptomatic or the symptoms might be so small that they just go unnoticed. But we know that high blood pressure increases the chance of cerebral vascular disease, so it would be a shame to go for an extended period of time, not realizing that you had a controllable situation.”

Within Baylor Scott & White – Centennial’s emergency department also has access to a heart catheterization lab and a chest pain center. With these resources, the team of medical professionals is able to provide a patient with medical attention very quickly.

“Mostly, in the community hospital setting, we take care of a lot of upper respiratory type problems, and a lot of abdominal pain,” Dr. Arai says. “We also take care of patients that present with chest pain. We can immediately intervene to save someone that suffered from an acute heart attack.” 

The chest pain center at Baylor Scott & White – Centennial operates 24 hours a day with support from board-certified invasive cardiologists. Collectively, the team has the capacity to perform heart catheterizations at all hours of the day. 

“There is literally not a healthcare need that can’t be taken care of by the Baylor Scott & White system,” Dr. Arai says. 

While some services and treatments may not be available at all Baylor Scott & White – Centennial, patients can quickly be transferred between hospitals to receive the care they need.

“Being part of the large Baylor Scott & White system, we are able to transfer patients within our health system if they need more comprehensive services that are only located at select locations within the state,” Merola says. “Even if we don’t have what is exactly needed at our facility, we’re always able to find it somewhere within the Baylor Scott & White organization. Our system is very broad. We have a lot of innovative technology due to our high level of engagement and research.”

With quality care and experienced medical professionals, Baylor Scott & White remains one of the most trusted names in medicine. Even in the most difficult of situations, Baylor Scott & White patients know that they are in good hands.

“The nurses and physicians make the best day out of someone’s worst day,” Merola says. “Patients never want to be in the emergency room, but I think that our staff does a really good job of making the best out of a bad situation. They’re able to really calm our patients down, provide them with that healing touch and healing communication. They are able to tell a patient that it’s going to be okay, and they’re going to get through it at the end of the day.”

To learn more about Baylor Scott & White – Centennial, visit