Trauma Center Hurdles

 Trauma Center Hurdles

Dear Editor:

(In response to Richard Berger’s June 20 letter.)

Richard Berger is absolutely correct – Rockaway badly needs a trauma center. But there are major hurdles involved in opening one. I researched this topic during my 10+ years as Chief Medical Officer at Peninsula Hospital. The first obstacle is location. Placing it in Far Rockaway does west end residents no good – Brooklyn is closer to them. The location needs to be mid-peninsula, say between Beach 55th Street and Beach 95th Street.

The second, and larger, obstacle is money. A trauma center is not a doc-in-the-box. You can’t treat trauma patients and then quickly transport them. You need a large facility with hospital beds, an ICU, operating rooms, a large ER, and dormitory facilities, preferably with a helipad. Why dorm facilities? Because all the needed staff must be on-site and available 24/7. The staff includes nurses, surgeons, chest surgeons, trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, etc. This is why trauma centers are usually located in large university-type hospitals. The cost of building a facility like that from scratch is astronomical, probably well over a billion dollars. Plus, keeping the facility running costs hundreds of millions of dollars annually. So, we can have all the rallies we want to open such a facility here, but until the location and funding is found, it’s unfortunately an exercise in futility.

Dr. Peter Galvin

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