BY JOE MARVILLI
As part of its growing focus on emergency care, New York Hospital Queens has hired a new head of trauma to make sure its services are in peak condition.
Dr. Slobodan Jazarevic joined the hospital in February as the new director of Trauma and Critical Care. The retired Army Colonel brings decades of experience in the field to NYHQ, where he plans to improve its trauma center.
Jazarevic earned his medical degree in Europe from the University of Zagreb School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency training in general surgery at Lankenau Medical Center and his fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Besides his role at NYHQ, Jazarevic is the CEO of Global Trauma Systems. He has worked as the attending surgeon at Jupiter Medical Center and as the Dept. of Surgery chairman at Lawnwood Medical Center in Florida. His clinical practice focuses on vascular, endovascular and oncologic surgery in addition to trauma and critical care.
He joined NYHQ to set up a new-and-improved trauma center that will be verified by the American College of Surgeons. According to Jazarevic, that organization is now in charge of verifying the centers, rather than the State. Due to how many other departments trauma can impact, the endeavor was a massive undertaking for him.
“The problem with trauma is that it affects every nook and cranny of the hospital system. It’s a system that depends on other systems,” he said. “This is like moving to an airport that lands 747s. It’s a big institution. There’s a lot of moving parts. That’s what makes it unique.”
In spite of these difficulties, Jazarevic said he enjoys the challenge of putting together the center. He also has experience in this particular task, as he led a rearrangement of the Army’s medical doctrine.
Jazarevic is a highly decorated war veteran, having served in combat operations in Panama, Desert Storm, Africa, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. During the Iraq War, he presided over the largest reorganization of battlefield trauma care delivery since the Vietnam War, affecting the care of more than 200,000 soldiers, coalition forces, Iraqi military and Dept. of Defense civilians.
While the military traditionally used a front-to-back system of medical care for those wounded on the battlefield, Jazarevic said that system went out the window in Iraq, as the fighting was everywhere, often without discernable front lines.
“Front lines were everywhere. We transitioned from linear combat to asymmetrical combat,” he said. “The medical core had to adjust to that fact. We changed the medical core doctrine, how we functioned in Iraq, taking care of the wounded in Iraq. We started an asymmetric emergency trauma theater as well.”
This new system cut out many of the middle steps between the battlefield and the hospital. Patients were evacuated by helicopters only, which flew straight to the hospital. According to Jazarevic, this knocked the mortality rate for those reaching the hospital to only two percent, rather than the 11 percent it had been before the change.
“Patients were going to the right place in the right amount of time. Patients went straight from the battlefield injury to the hospital in Iraq,” the doctor said. “Over 98 percent of patients who made it to the hospital survived.”
Jazarevic added that he plans to convert NYHQ as well, creating a bigger focus on emergency surgery and care. He said he plans to finish the transformation and have the Level 1 trauma center set for approval by the American College of Surgeons by next year.
“I’m structuring the Queens hospital into a trauma emergency care center,” he said. “We’re making NYHQ a hospital that specializes in emergency surgery. We pride ourselves on all types of emergency surgeries.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.