Trauma Center Needed

 Trauma Center  Needed

Dear Editor:

Due to the isolation of the Rockaway peninsula, we have only three ways off the peninsula, Cross Bay Boulevard, Rockaway Turnpike, both leading into inland Queens, and the Jamaica Hospital Trauma Center, or Flatbush Avenue, to Brookdale Medical Center or Kings County Medical Center Trauma Center. There is yet one more possible trauma center, at Nassau University Medical Center (formerly Nassau County Medical Center) in Uniondale, Nassau County.

The issues with all of these trauma centers, is they all involve extra time and distance to get from here, to there. While I was still with the FDNY EMS, at minimum, traveling under emergency lights and siren, it would be a minimum of at least 25 minutes on a good day. Anyone who regularly commutes on local roads can tell you how the traffic jams up at rush hour, and as the peninsula is a beach community, seasonally, towards 5 p.m., you can add that traffic to the mix. Another cause of traffic coming off the peninsula is weather, as one example, if a thunderstorm hits, everyone tries leaving the beach at the same time. Rush hour, beach traffic, or storm traffic surge, all create even worse than regular traffic delays. When the Belt Parkway gets jammed up, vehicles have no place to go, to get out of the way of any emergency vehicle with the emergency lights and siren activated. Within training as an Emergency Medical Technician, we have a situation called the “Golden Hour.” This is supposed to be in the hour from the traumatic injury occurring, until definitive trauma care can be started. Stuck in a traffic jam, that Golden Hour ticks away quickly. I speak from 40 plus years’ experience as an EMT, in the volunteer, private, and municipal sectors. We have always needed a trauma center. Now needs to be that time!

Richard Berger

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