Departmental News


Trauma care at Stony Brook University Medical Center — to which the Department's specialists in trauma/surgical critical care contribute — received great performance scores in the latest New York State trauma system report for saving lives, demonstrating low mortality rates.

This report, published in December 2006, was developed by the New York State Department of Health, State Trauma Advisory Committee, and SUNY Albany School of Public Health.

As the only regional (Level 1) trauma center in Suffolk County, Stony Brook treats the sickest patients. This county has one of the highest rates in the state for seriously injured patients to be treated in trauma centers.

"The December 2006 report by the New York Department of Health objectively recognizes that Stony Brook excels when compared to the other trauma centers in the state," says Marc J. Shapiro, MD, professor of surgery and anesthesiology, and chief of general surgery, trauma, critical care, and burns. "As the only Level 1, or Resource Hospital, serving the 1.5 million citizens of Suffolk County, the Medical Center receives the sickest of the sick or injured, and is prepared to handle any form of injury or multiple injuries that arrive at its doorstep."

Previous studies have shown that patients transferred from one hospital to another with serious head injuries have particularly poor outcomes. Yet the state's trauma report shows our results are better than average, even with a large number of our patients coming in as transfers from other hospitals.

Two types of mortality were examined for the trauma report: inpatient mortality and in-hospital mortality (inpatient mortality or death in the emergency department).

Dr. Shapiro explains the secret of our success: "Through a multidisciplinary approach that begins in the emergency room with the emergency medicine and trauma clinicians working together, and continues with the multiple consultants including orthopedic, neurosurgery, maxillofacial, plastic, radiology, and others within the Medical Center, all the way to the operating room, the SICU, and the surgical floors with the team of therapists and trauma social worker, the trauma service has been recognized by the DOH for its proficiency and excellent standard of care."

Stony Brook's inpatient and in-hospital risk-adjusted mortality rates were both lower than the statewide average (z-score, −0.38 and −0.31, respectively; z-score reveals how many units of the statistical standard deviation a case is above or below the average).

The state's trauma report uses data from the New York State Trauma Registry supplied by all trauma centers statewide. The report details the mortality results by region, by level of hospital (regional trauma center or area trauma center), and by mechanism of injury.

Stony Brook's excellent outcomes are the result of a multidisciplinary team working together toward the goal of providing the best comprehensive care to seriously injured patients.

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