What to Expect


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    At Stony Brook Trauma Center, you can expect fast, expert care by Suffolk County’s most advanced trauma team.

    En route. While the patient is on the way to Stony Brook — by ambulance or helicopter — the transport team sends a report on patient status and acuity. This activates the trauma team, which starts its “pre-hospital preparation.” This includes readying a trauma bay/resuscitation room for the patient with the appropriate equipment, mobilizing the members of the appropriate specialists for the patient’s condition, preparing an operating room if needed, reviewing any medical records or diagnostic films sent in advance, and being fully prepared and ready to go the moment the patient enters the Trauma Center.

    Upon arrival. Emergency Department staff can pre-activate the trauma team based upon the pre-hospital report. Stony Brook has a two-tiered trauma team response (like most trauma centers). The highest level activation brings an immediate response by a full team of physicians, nurses and therapists to the patient’s beside. The operating room, the Blood Bank and the ICU are notified of a potentially seriously injured patient and they begin preparing. 

    Upon arrival the patient is evaluated for physiological variables, such as blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. Injuries are identified and treated. Based on this evaluation, the team makes a treatment plan.   

    During the first few hours. This is the most critical time for the trauma patient, so the team works quickly and efficiently. Ongoing evaluations may include labs, blood work, x-rays, radiology studies, cardiac monitoring, pulse-ox monitoring and more, all done at the bedside. Other bedside capabilities include ultrasound; procedures to regulate the patient’s body temperature; rapid transfusion of fluid or blood products; use of a glidescope, which gives video confirmation of proper intubation; cranial access kits; and immediate ventilation to relieve breathing difficulties. The Trauma Center has two CT scanners on site and two MRIs adjacent for immediate, in-depth testing.

    While the patient is undergoing treatment, the Trauma Center staff begins working on a longer-term plan of care. This may include advocating with insurers, following up with worker’s compensation, calling in physical and occupational therapists, investigating rehabilitation services, connecting with community resources and programs, counseling family members, making chaplaincy services available and more. In fact, the team works on the discharge plan from admission onward because we understand how important it is for individuals to return to their lives as quickly and with as much functionality as possible.

    Recovery and healing. Once patients have been stabilized, they may be transferred to one of our specialized units that will best meet their needs. These units include the Trauma Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Surgical Progressive Care Unit, or Burn Unit. As our patient's conditions improve, they are transitioned to a unit that is best suited to meet their medical needs.

    For families. We understand the important role that families play in the recovery process, so we make them a part of the treatment team. When the family arrives at the hospital, they are met by the charge nurse and a trauma social worker, in addition to the treating physicians, who give a brief report on patient’s status, what has been done so far and what to expect. Typically, they want to see their loved one as quickly as possible, so we do everything in our power to make that happen. Afterwards, we spend additional time with them answering questions and continue to keep them as informed and as comfortable as possible. For that purpose, there is a large family waiting area, plus a private consultation/respite room. 

    We understand that this can be a very stressful time for families, so our social work and chaplaincy services help with the emotions, questions and decisions that families face during a medical crisis.