In the every-second-counts crucible of a pediatric trauma case, dozens of Cohen Children's Medical Center specialists transform into a single unit with a powerful depth of expertise.
How effective is this team representing multiple specialties? Just ask a young man whose life they saved.
"I am glad I went to this hospital and not any other," high school junior Mohmund Farhadi told a reporter at a Cohen Children's news conference this winter.
He was reflecting on a harrowing experience that nearly cost him his life. On New Year's Eve 2015, the Bethpage resident and his older brother, Nawid, were the victims of a road rage assault. The assailant stabbed Nawid five times. Mohmund, who had been practicing his driving skills with Nawid's help, was stabbed in the chest when he tried to help his brother.
The brothers were rushed to Plainview Hospital. Nawid underwent surgery there and recovered quickly. Mohmund had one wound, but it was significant -- the knife had pierced his left lung from front to back, causing it to collapse. He was losing a lot of blood and needed a higher level of care. The Plainview Hospital team transferred him to Cohen Children's, New York City and Long Island's only American College of Surgeons-verified Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center.
Life in the Balance
"Trauma care begins in the pre-hospital phase, when we communicate with the emergency medicine physicians at the referring hospital or emergency medical services personnel in the field," said José Prince, MD, trauma medical director at Cohen Children's. "When we receive word a trauma patient is on the way, we activate our trauma protocol and call the team together. Mohmund warranted Level 1 activation [the highest classification], which meant approximately 25 medical professionals, including nine board-certified pediatric physicians and surgeons, mobilized to care for him."
When Mohmund arrived at Cohen Children's, his life was in danger.
"The knife missed Mohmund's heart by centimeters, but his injury was devastating all the same," said Nathan Christopherson, RN, trauma program manager at Cohen Children's. "He had severe blood loss and substantial bleeding in the chest cavity. The wound put him at risk of not being able to breathe effectively. If he hadn't received the care he did, he could have died."
Minutes after arriving at the hospital, Mohmund underwent surgery. Nelson Rosen, MD, associate trauma medical director at Cohen Children's, stitched the wounds in Mohmund's lung through an incision between his ribs. Mohmund spent nearly a week recovering in the hospital, first in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and then on a regular patient floor. He returned home after discharge and resumed classes at Bethpage High School.
Nearly a month after the attack, Mohmund returned to Cohen Children's with Nawid and reunited with Dr. Rosen and other members of the pediatric trauma team.
"I am here today and feel grateful and blessed for Dr. Rosen and his team," Mohmund told a reporter.
To Dr. Prince, Mohmund's story perfectly encapsulates what it means to be an American College of Surgeons-verified Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center.
"Mohmund's case highlights the uncertain nature of trauma," Dr. Prince said. "No one knows when something like what he experienced will happen. At Cohen Children's, we have the resources, capacity and expertise to be a regional destination for children who are gravely injured."
Read the spring 2016 issue of Kids First.