Officials from Mount Sinai South Nassau speak about their new ER and how it affects patient care.  Credit: Newsday/Howard Scnapp

Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital will open its new trauma unit and eight private rooms for emergency patients on Monday.

The Oceanside hospital recently completed the $5 million upgrade, the latest element of a $50 million, five-year overhaul of its emergency department. By 2025, the department will more than double to 32,000 square feet, spanning the length of a football field, hospital executives said.

The new features opening Monday include eight new private rooms, including two pediatric rooms with ocean-themed artwork on the walls and ceilings.

Going to a hospital emergency room can be “very harrowing” for patients, especially children, said Dr. Jay Itzkowitz, chair of the hospital’s emergency department, which treats up to about 65,000 patients a year, including about 10,000 children. In addition to helping keep patients safer  from COVID-19 and other illnesses, he said, having a private room “does help with the patient's care while they're here, it does alleviate a lot of their anxiety."

The hospital now has 24 private rooms in its emergency department, and all can be converted to “negative pressure” rooms that do not allow potentially infectious air to escape, said Andrew Triolo, vice president of facility planning and development.

In a separate area, the emergency department is opening three new trauma and resuscitation areas that can each accommodate up to two patients if needed.

The new trauma areas make it easier for teams of doctors and nurses to “stabilize [patients] as quickly as possible,” said Margaret Puya, trauma program manager in the surgery department. South Nassau can get trauma patients into an operating room within 15 minutes if they need surgery, she said.

The most common trauma injuries in the emergency department are from falls, including many suffered by senior citizens at home, she said. The hospital also treats many people injured in car crashes and pedestrians struck by vehicles, she said.

The 455-bed hospital, its new Medical Arts Pavilion under construction in Long Beach and other facilities are undergoing a $400 million capital construction program, funded in part by $170 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency  and $37 million in tax-exempt bonds from the Nassau County Local Economic Assistance Corporation. The work in Oceanside includes a four-story addition that will include a 40-bed critical care unit and nine new operating suites, in addition to the expanded emergency department.

“South Nassau has been evolving, with our affiliation with Mount Sinai, to provide more complex care,” said Dr. Adhi Sharma, president of the hospital. “The community will get care in their backyard, they won’t have to go and travel anywhere else.”

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