You might not know it unless you visit, but the pediatrics unit at (NUMC) is a vast, multi-faceted operation that has long been a training ground for physicians and affiliated health professions. Indeed, NUMC has evolved into a first-rate center through its affiliation with the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
NUMC has a truly state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) that helps hundreds of children every year recover from premature birth, birth defects, trauma, surgery and life-threatening illness.
Dr. Peter Ciminera, a 27-year veteran at the hospital who runs the PICU, said you have to be "ready for anything, at any time." That message was illustrated once again this week following the terrible auto accident involving students from Clarke High School, which claimed the life of one of the teens. Another teenager with serious injuries , where he was listed in "critical, yet stable condition," as of 2 p.m. Wednesday
The PICU handles trauma, extensive surgery, severe infection, poisoning, drug overdose, congenital anomalies, immunological disorders – virtually anything you can imagine. One time a rider fell off a horse and suffered a serious head injury.
"The staff saved the young man's life," said Shelley Lotenberg, director of public affairs at NUMC.
The story gets better. The patient, Michael Geier, was so inspired by the experience that he took up medicine. He is now a rotating medical student at the hospital.
"The best thing is when they come back and they thank you," Ciminera said. "They may not remember they were treated here, maybe their mothers forced them to come here, but they come back."
While PICU handles the unexpected, the department of pediatrics works on long-term issues ranging from obesity to asthma, autism to attention deficit disorder. For example, the department offers the full spectrum of evaluation and treatment resources for overweight pediatric patients from childhood through adolescence. This includes weight management, pediatric endocrinology lipid disorders programs, as well as cardiology, nephrology, genetics, allergy/immunology/asthma subspecialty care.
NUMC's staff also works with the Nassau County Department of Health, community-based organizations and school districts to promote healthy lifestyles, exercise and proper nutrition. Dr. Marc Jacobson, a nationally acclaimed expert and researcher in the field, leads the efforts.
The staff at NUMC works with common disorders including bipolar disorder, central auditory processing disorder, Tourette's syndrome; traumatic brain injury and many other disorders.
Lotenberg said NuHealth's pediatric developmental and behavioral specialists work with other physicians and health care professionals in psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation in creating an individualized treatment plan to address the specific physical and psychosocial issues resulting from the patient's disorder.
Dr. Rose Marie Young specializes in allergy and immunology. She has worked at the hospital for 15 years and helps patients afflicted with asthma, autism and obesity. Her specialty is asthma.
"My kids are not handicapped or disabled," Young said.
In the past, she has hosted asthma screenings and other programs designed to educate children and parents. She said undiagnosed or under-treated asthma not only can diminish a person's life, it can also cause serious long-term damage to the lungs, especially in children.
"We know more than ever about asthma and we have the tools to treat the symptoms and control the disease," she said.