pictured: The trauma surgery team at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn. From left: Galina A. Glinik, MD, interim trauma medical director, with attending trauma surgeons Nicole D. Goulet, MD; Pieter Smit, MD; Helen Davido, MD; Onaona U. Gurney, MD; and Patricia Ayoung-Chee, MD, MPH.
On an early morning last December, a van making a turn onto the BQE struck a female pedestrian at a crosswalk, dragging her 30 feet before coming to a stop. The 911 dispatcher alerted the closest Level I hospital – the trauma team at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn. They responded immediately to save her life.
Every second counts for patients suffering life-threatening injuries, and the trauma unit at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn provides 24-hour coverage to meet that urgent need. Accredited by the American College of Surgeons, it is one of the few in the borough certified to handle the most severe injuries.
Galina Glinik, MD, a former medical worker in the Soviet-Afghan war, serves as the program’s interim director, and leads a team of physicians specializing in critical care and trauma surgery: Patricia R. Ayoung-Chee, MD, MPH; Helen T. Davido, MD; Pieter Smit, MD; Nicole D. Goulet, MD; and Onaona Gurney, MD.
“It’s vitally important to be able to rapidly assign priorities and determine the resources and personnel needed,” Glinik says. “There are many things happening simultaneously to save a patient’s life during a trauma call.”
As the Level I alert was broadcast that December morning, 15 to 20 additional specialists responded with the trauma team to the Emergency Department. The patient arrived awake, agitated, and in a state of distress with internal bleeding. The team worked quickly to stabilize and assess her injuries.
“Responding to trauma can be exhilarating, particularly when we can stabilize quickly so that other life-saving procedures can be started,” says Glinik. “The young woman suffered multiple internal injuries, including collapsed lungs and many broken bones. We were not sure if she would survive.”
Thomas Lyon, MD, chief of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn, who completed a fellowship at R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, one of the country’s top trauma facilities, worked with the team to repair the patient’s multiple fractures. “Her breathing and other medical conditions had to be addressed before the most serious orthopedic injury—a broken pelvis—could be secured,” he says.
The patient survived, and even visited the hospital months after the accident to personally thank the team that saved her.