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Hackensack University Medical Center Honors and Recognizes Trauma Survivors and Care Teams on World Trauma Day 2017

June 22, 2017 is a day that Michael Villegas and his family won’t soon forget.   That evening, Michael was riding his motorcycle on Westwood Avenue in River Vale when he lost control and hit a mailbox.  Michael suffered severe head and neck injuries and was transported by ambulance to Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center where he spent five weeks in the surgical intensive care unit and was unconscious for more than three weeks.

“We gained a new family, new friends and we learned that through all things, God is there,” said Amy Villegas, Michael’s mom. “He was there to uphold us. He was there with the saints and angels – the doctors, the nurses, the physician’s assistants, who were truly God’s hands. They provided for us, they guided us, they comforted us. And, I will forever be indebted to the trauma team and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Hackensack University Medical Center for the care they gave my son during his hospitalization.”

Michael was one of 11 trauma patients and members of their care teams who were recognized by Hackensack University Medical Center and the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation in honor of World Trauma Day, which was observed on October 17.   The event was held at the Designer Showhouse of New Jersey in Saddle River.  World Trauma Day began in 2011 in New Delhi, India.

“Hackensack University Medical Center is privileged to have such outstanding Departments in Trauma/ Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention and the Surgical Intensive Care Unit,” said Sharad Sahu, M.D., vice president, Clinical Integration, Hackensack Meridian Health. “I am honored to be here on this World Trauma Day, which highlights the need to prevent death to civilians caused by accidents. As we recognize our trauma survivors and their caregivers on World Trauma Day, you are all an inspiration to me.”

“Trauma as a disease is one of the most prevalent killers on the planet,” said Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., director, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention.  “In the United States, for people between the ages of one and 46, it is the number one killer. In addition to trauma being a national problem, it is a significant global problem. The cost of care for the trauma patient is approximately $671 billion annually.  Approximately, 30 percent of all potential life years lost for those under the age of 75 are due to trauma. And, surprisingly, trauma is among the least funded in research.”

During the program, the inaugural Pritam S. Grewal Good Samaritan Award was presented.  The Grewal Good Samaritan Award was established in continuation of Mr. Grewal’s virtuous service to the medical personnel of Hackensack University Medical Center and in appreciation of the care he received following his car accident in 2012 by the Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention. The Grewal Good Samaritan Award recognizes Hackensack University Medical Center team members who demonstrate compassion and who unselfishly help others. The award was presented to Security Officer Christopher Diaz, Nurse Mikhaila McLean and Nurse Alison Piccoli, who were recognized for their actions in saving the life of a man who they found on fire near the Essex Street train station in Hackensack.

In honor of the recipient of the Grewal Good Samaritan Award, the Grewal family presented a $25,000 gift to advance the research efforts of the Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack University Medical Center.

“The trauma team at Hackensack University Medical Center has been such a large part of our lives and they are more than family to us,” said Balpreet Grewal-Virk.  “The dedication, the courage, expertise of the entire team astonishes me every day. I saw them with my father and with other patients. Everyone is so involved and knows exactly what to do to provide the best care to each and every patient who comes through the doors.”

Photo 1:
The Department of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center and the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation recently celebrated World Trauma Day at the Designer Showhouse of New Jersey in Saddle River.

Front row, left to right: Melanie Funt, RN, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Hackensack University Medical Center; Kirsten Sommer, RN, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Hackensack University Medical Center;  Pritam Grewal, Mahwah; Ron Gold, Saddle River; and Caryn Simone, RN, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Hackensack University Medical Center.

Middle row, left to right:
Petra Topper, RN, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Hackensack University Medical Center; Elizabeth Kiselak, M.D., attending trauma surgeon, Hackensack University Medical Center;  Javier Martin Perez, M.D., director, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention; Saraswati Dayal, M.D., director, Surgical Intermediate Care Unit, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention; Ruth Fiorino, Hillsdale; Michael Villegas, Hillsdale; Al Ballerini, Maywood;  Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., director, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention; Meliam Gonzales, BSN, RN, trauma prevention coordinator and clinical educator, Division of  Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention, Hackensack University Medical Center; Scott Solomon, Saratoga Springs, NY;  Sarah Monchar, P.A., mid-level supervisor, Department of Surgery, Hackensack University Medical Center;  Setu Dalal, D.O., attending trauma surgeon, Hackensack University Medical Center; Carly Rock, unit services representative, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Hackensack University Medical Center.

Back row, left to right:
Juliana Valdez, Bergenfield; Marcus Sanchez, Lodi; Raul Rodriguez Pared, Old Tappan; and Gary Haight, Emerson.

Photo 2:
In honor of the recipient of the Grewal Good Samaritan Award, the Grewal family presented a $25,000 donation to advance the research efforts of the Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center.

From left to right:  Robert Budelman, executive director, Individual Giving, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation; Mikhaila McLean, RN, Emergency and Trauma Center, Hackensack University Medical Center; Christopher Diaz, Security Services, Hackensack University Medical Center; Shivi Grewal; Balpreet Grewel-Virk; Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., director, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention; and Alison Piccoli, RN, Emergency and Trauma Center, Hackensack University Medical Center.

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.