Park Slope

Brooklyn’s NY Methodist Hospital designated as a trauma center

April 16, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A trauma room in New York Methodist Hospital, during a trauma response simulation led by Dr. Barbara Gatton, director of quality improvement for NYM's Department of Emergency Medicine. Photo courtesy of New York Methodist
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New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope has received designation from the state Department of Health (DOH) as a trauma center, meaning the hospital is certified to handle severe, life-threatening injuries like gunshot wounds, stabbings and car accidents.

DOH awarded the designation following a year’s worth of preparation and facility upgrades by Methodist, according to Dr. Bashar Fahoum, trauma surgeon and medical director of trauma services at the Hospital. 

“That included renovating our Department of Emergency Medicine’s trauma bays, as well as extensive training, trauma simulations and drills for all surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other staff members involved with trauma response,” Fahoum said in a statement.

The designation will increase the options available to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel as they rush to save seriously injured patients in Brooklyn.  

“EMS brings trauma patients to the nearest trauma center,” Methodist spokesperson Lyn Hill told the Brooklyn Eagle. “In general, they would bring patients with life-threatening conditions to the nearest hospital capable of providing appropriate medical service.”

Designation as a trauma center means a hospital is able to provide life-saving care across all emergency scenarios, and has a continuous process in place for monitoring and improving that care.

This includes 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons, as well as the availability of specialists in fields like general and orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery and emergency medicine.

Higher standards recently adopted

New York State has recently adopted the national American College of Surgeons (ACS) trauma center designation standards. The Level 2 provisional ACS trauma center designation received by Methodist is more demanding than the NYS Department of Health Level 1 designation that was previously applied to New York’s trauma centers, Hill told the Eagle.

“New York Methodist’s Department of Surgery already offers advanced procedures … including general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, vascular surgery, urology, ophthalmology and cardiothoracic surgery,” said Dr. Anthony Tortolani, chairman of surgery and cardiothoracic surgery at Methodist.

“We have specialists in each of these areas who are also trained in trauma response. In recognizing [Methodist] as a trauma center, DOH has determined that we can provide the highest level of care for the most severely injured patients.”

The hospital’s Emergency Department handles more than 100,000 patients a year, including those experiencing life-threatening heart attacks and severe strokes, according to Dr. Joseph Bove, chairman of emergency medicine at Methodist.

Wait time before being treated in the emergency room at Methodist average just over an hour, according to DOH. While this is almost double the state average of 35 minutes, many Brooklyn ERs have even longer waits – a situation compounded by the closure of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill.

According to DOH, the wait at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center’s ER averages 95 minutes, while Woodhull averages 112 minutes. Brooklyn Hospital Center patients must wait 114 minutes before being treated, as must patients at Kings County. The longest wait in an ER at any hospital in New York City is at Brooklyn’s Interfaith Hospital, where patients remain untreated for a staggering 125 minutes before being seen by a health professional.

Other trauma centers in Brooklyn include Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park, Brookdale University Hospital in East New York, and Kings County Hospital Center in East Flatbush, according to the state DOH.

Only Kings County is certified to handle children as well as adults.

Updated April 17 to clarify that Methodist received trauma center designation from the state Department of Health (DOH).







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