By Patrick Donachie
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center celebrated its designation as a Level 1 Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, and a police officer injured in a hatchet attack, who was treated at the hospital, was on hand to celebrate the new designation.
“I’m here because of Jamaica Hospital,” Officer Kenneth Healey said during a news conference held in the hospital at 8900 Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica. Healey was struck in the head by a man wielding a hatchet along Jamaica Avenue in October 2014. After receiving care at Jamaica Hospital, he recovered and is now back at work with the NYPD.
Geoffrey Doughlin, the medical director of trauma for the hospital, said the hospital had been designated as a Level 1 center by the city and state in the past. But the ACS designation, which was issued on March 16 and lasts for three years, verifies that Jamaica Hospital’s trauma unit acts with a premier level of preparedness and care.
Bruce Flanz, the hospital’s chief executive officer, said the hospital is near the intersection of three expressways and the closet hospital to John F. Kennedy Airport. Several of the trauma team staff were on hand for the announcement, including Beverly Brown, RN, the trauma program manager and Dr. Jeffrey Chan, a trauma surgeon. Brown said the national standards determined by the ACS offered a greater uniformity of care throughout the country.
“It makes sure that trauma centers are doing the same thing,” she said. “You can’t have a hospital in Pennsylvania doing something different from a hospital in New York.”
Chan agreed, saying that the new designation was a welcome affirmation of the quality of care the hospital has offered since it first began providing trauma care in 1985.
A Level 1 trauma center must be able to provide total care from the arrival of the patient to dismissal. The ACS conducted an analysis of quality indicators for the hospital’s previous 12 months and conducted a site visit. Chief Operating Officer William Lynch said the standards the hospital had to adhere to in order to garner the ACS Level 1 designation were varied and exhaustive.
“Do we have anaesthesia 24/7? Do we have an operating room available 24/7? If the first team goes into surgery, is the second team available on call?” he said, citing a few of the many examples of indicators that ACS investigated in its analysis. He said the designation could be an additional assurance to EMT workers in the field who were bringing their patients to Jamaica Hospital.
Finally, he said the designation was particularly important considering the wide area Jamaica Hospital covered, including most of southern Queens, eastern Brooklyn and the Rockaway Peninsula. The nearest Level 1 Trauma Center besides Jamaica Hospital was New York Presbyterian Queens in Flushing.
“In the south Queens area,” Lynch said, “we’re it.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona