A new state-of-the-art operating suite at Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre could be the difference between life and death for trauma patients.

The $6-million Interventional Trauma Operating Room is the first of its kind in North America, and its primary focus is to help control the bleeding of severe trauma patients.

The special trauma suite is twice the size of a traditional operating room, which will allow surgical and diagnostic medical teams to work on patients at the same time.

"Although hybrid suites exist worldwide, this is the very first one that was purpose-designed for the trauma patient," said Dr. Andrew Kirkpatrick, medical director of regional trauma services in Calgary.

The new operating room was funded by the province and the Calgary Health Trust. The only other one like it in the world is in Sydney, Australia.