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NYC’s Ultimate Guide to TBI: Treatment Centers & Legal Rights

NYC’s Ultimate Guide to TBI: Treatment Centers & Legal Rights


Each year, far too many New Yorkers must cope with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by tragic falls at work, serious car and truck accidents, or other damaging events. Fortunately, our team of experienced New York brain injury accident attorneys are fully prepared to help you once we accept your case. And while we’re busy conducting a thorough investigation into the events leading up to your head trauma – you’ll need to immediately obtain the best medical treatment possible at a fully qualified hospital or specialized brain trauma center.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

Hopefully, the first emergency room physician who meets you will know to either readily admit you for care if the hospital has all the diagnostic tests and machines required – or have you transferred to another, more appropriate facility. Of course, in some extremely urgent cases, the first doctors who evaluate you may have to immediately schedule brain surgery to save your life. All these decisions will usually be based on the medical facility’s trauma center designation or level of verification. – and the extent of your injuries.

The following information highlights the differences between trauma center levels and reviews the types of brain injuries that most often require treatment. Additional material also notes useful diagnostic tests and common symptoms of diverse types of brain trauma.

Importance of specialized medical centers for treatment: Trauma levels explained

New York and all other states (or local municipalities) are expected to develop or choose the types of medical facilities, diagnostic tools, and staff availability required for their trauma centers or hospitals. In other words, each state must designate or establish minimal care and treatment standards for all levels of care for trauma patients (whether they’ve suffered brain injuries or other extreme bodily harm).

Once these standards have been properly designated, trauma center verification must occur. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) must always manage this second stage of providing appropriate trauma care to patients. Representatives of that group must be asked to come in and fully evaluate the entire array of services and care offered to patients. Each facility’s staff, equipment, and programs will be subjected to separate evaluations.

Instead of “designating” trauma centers, the ACS is required to verify that all the required resources are present – the ones listed in what’s called “Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient.” This entire process is considered “voluntary” and usually takes three years to complete.

As noted above, these ACS officials will not only be evaluating tools and equipment, they’ll also be looking at staff readiness (such as the number of surgeons on call at any given time of day). They will also assess the level of quality patient care currently being provided. Trauma centers may also be examined to see what type of useful management policies are in place to help everyone – and if all staff members are being professionally trained and evaluated.

Unique treatment options required or expected in Trauma Levels 1 through 5

Level I trauma centers — expectations and basic offerings

  • General surgeons are available in-house, 24 hours a day.
  • Quality care must be readily available to seriously injured patients with a wide variety of needs. These might include orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, radiology, internal medicine, and other urgent types of care often sought by traumatically injured patients.
  • They serve as a dependable medical resource for all residents in nearby communities
  • They are leaders in providing public education programs. They should also teach people how to prevent diverse types of infections, diseases, or accidents.

Level II Trauma Centers — basic requirements

These facilities must offer 24-hour availability of general surgeons. They must also have doctors capable of treating patients with immediate radiology, orthopedic, neurological, and emergency medicine needs. And they should offer other general trauma care services.

Level II trauma centers must also be ready to provide tertiary care that may include hemodialysis, cardiac surgery, and microvascular surgery.

All staff members must be provided with adequate training regarding the prevention of health crises and the opportunity to take continuing education classes on trauma topics.

Level III Trauma Centers — services which must be offered

Besides the immediate availability of emergency medicine physicians, these centers should also provide the “prompt availability” of anesthesiologists and general surgeons.

Given the lower levels of care available at these centers, they must have fully developed transfer agreements in place so that any of their patients that require more comprehensive care can be readily moved to either Level 1 or Level 2 trauma centers.

These facilities are also expected to provide “back-up” care for community and rural hospitals Ongoing trauma care training should be provided for all staff members.

Level IV Trauma Center facilities – services normally provided

These facilities must be prepared to provide ATLS (advanced trauma life support) to all patients who come to them. Yet they must also have proper contracts in place to ensure the immediate transfer of patients to higher-level trauma centers.

Level IV trauma centers must also be prepared to provide 24-hour laboratory or testing services, and trauma doctors and nurses. When possible, these facilities may also provide surgery or critical care services. General hospitals and other types of medical clinics should always contact these centers in advance to be sure they have the capability of providing the care that patients being sent to them will need.

Level V Trauma Centers – their services and limitations

Physicians and nurses at these trauma facilities are usually only able to provide patients with initial evaluations, stabilization, and initial diagnostic care. However, they must always be prepared to transfer patients to facilities offering higher levels of trauma care. Some of their other service offerings are listed below.

  • Emergency department care that includes providing or implementing ATLS (advanced trauma life support) services.
  • Trauma nurses and physicians are available to treat patients upon arrival.
  • If the facility is not open 24 hours a day, it should proactively keep the surrounding communities aware of the few immediate or delayed services it can provide (such as transferring patients to higher levels of trauma care treatment).
  • Some Level V trauma centers can offer surgery and meet additional, critical care needs. However, no one should send any patients to these facilities without checking, in advance, to be sure they can fully treat each individual’s current medical needs.

Major hospital offerings to TBI patients requiring ICU care

In general, people suffering from major head trauma and placed in intensive care units will be monitored closely, especially right after new surgeries. Nurses and doctors will also try to stabilize their conditions and prevent any new medical emergencies.

Many ICU patients are in various coma stages, and their prognoses may still be quite uncertain. Since these severely injured patients are often not fully conscious, it’s common for their family caregivers to experience major stress until provided with additional information.

Some patients may have brain shunts, and others will have tubes and wires attached to them. When they have serious breathing difficulties, they may require ventilators.

New York City hospitals that have received high rankings for their neurological, brain care

During recent years, two NYC hospitals (with strong neurology departments) were ranked among the top 10 in the world for neurosurgery. (This ranking was provided by Newsweek and the group known as Statista).

Other area hospitals offering highly ranked neurology departments (in the top 20) by the U. S. News & World Report website include the following.

While the facilities named above have received exceptional rankings, many other New York City area hospitals also offer high-quality brain trauma care. If you currently need treatment for your TBI, always prioritize your internist’s opinion when searching for the best neurologist,

neurosurgeon, or rehabilitative care specialists.

Most common brain injuries reported by our legal clients

According to the Mayo Clinic, patients sustain a traumatic brain injury after receiving a violent blow or jolt to their heads (or bodies). These types of head trauma can include the following.

  • A concussion. These usually only cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, or drowsiness. However, they can easily worsen and should always be immediately evaluated with diagnostic tools. Sadly, too many people assume they’re fine – and then pass away the same day or shortly thereafter.
  • A diffuse axonal injury. A DAI is like a concussion but more severe. While this type of harm is occurring, your brain moves or rotates within your skull.
  • Moderate to severe brain injuries. Patients who incur this level of head injury often lose consciousness for a period of minutes or even hours. Their symptoms can include one or more of those listed below.
  • Worsening headaches
  • One or more vomiting spells
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Markedly impaired coordination
  • Very noticeable changes in vision

The diagnostic tests often used to evaluate all these conditions include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and blood work. Our law firm website provides an added wealth of information about the more sophisticated types of MRIs (and other tests) that doctors order to better evaluate the needs of brain injury patients.

As noted above, always try to first speak with your personal internist for referrals upon learning that you need either brain surgery or brain rehabilitative care.

If you have suffered serious injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to contact our New York City brain injury accident law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.

FAQs on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

What should I do after sustaining a TBI?

Immediately obtain the best medical treatment possible at a qualified hospital or specialized brain trauma center. It’s crucial for the first emergency room physician to admit you for proper care based on the severity of your injury.

What determines where I receive treatment?

All decisions regarding your care will be based on the medical facility’s trauma center designation or level of verification, and the extent of your injuries.

What is the importance of trauma center levels?

Trauma center levels determine the type and extent of care a facility can provide. Each state sets standards for these levels, ensuring that trauma patients receive appropriate care based on their injuries.

How are trauma centers verified?

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) manages the verification process, which involves evaluating each facility’s resources, staff readiness, and quality of patient care. This process typically takes three years.

What are the unique treatment options in Trauma Levels 1 through 5?

Each trauma level has specific expectations and offerings, from Level I providing comprehensive care with general surgeons available 24/7, to Level V offering initial evaluations and stabilization.

Which NYC hospitals are highly recommended for TBI care?

New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital have received global recognition for their neurosurgery departments. NYU Langone Hospitals and The Long Island Jewish Medical Center at Northwell Health are also highly recommended in the region.

What are the most common brain injuries reported?

Patients often report concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, and moderate to severe brain injuries. Each type of injury has distinct symptoms and requires specific diagnostic tests for evaluation.

What should I do if I believe someone else caused my injury?

Contact our New York City brain injury accident law firm for a thorough investigation and legal representation. We aim to ensure our clients receive full compensation for all damages suffered.

Contact our team at (212) 222-1111 for your free case evaluation.