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Retired colonel joins NYHQ to improve trauma unit

Dr. Slobodan Jazarevic joins New York Hospital Queens as its new director of trauma care. Photo courtesy New York Hospital Queens
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Whether he is in Queens, his native Croatia or Iraq, Dr. Slobodan Jazarevic is always up for a challenge.

The surgeon and retired U.S. Army colonel recently joined New York Hospital Queens as director of trauma and critical care. Jazarevic has been hired to obtain a higher accreditation for the hospital’s existing Level 1 trauma center.

This level, accredited by the American College of Surgeons, means NYHQ’s trauma center would provide elite and comprehensive care of traumatic injuries.

“These are all the standards we go by,” he said. “It minimizes the variance of care. Everything should be standard so that there is no variation.”

NYHQ figured Jazarevic was the right man for the job since he has already transformed at least three other hospitals to Level 1 trauma centers.

“It’s a big challenge because it’s a big system,” he said. “It’s like having an airport that lands Cessnas and you change it to one that lands 747s. There’s an upgrade you need to do.”

Jazarevic emigrated in 1983 from what was then Yugoslavia after completing medical school. He did his residency at Lenkenau Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

As soon as he received his green card, Jazarevic joined the Army as a medical officer in 1984. He served in a medical and combat role on missions in Panama, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

From 2003-06, he served as the Army’s chief medical officer for the whole Iraqi medical theater.

He has been able to apply what he learned in his military experiences to civilian hospitals.

“Every time there is a major conflict, the experience has translated into the civilian theater,” he said.

Emergency medical services and surgeons have been able to learn mass casualty management for times that catastrophes hit based on what medical professionals have learned in the military field, Jazaveric said.

Since he retired from the Army in 2010, Jazarevic has served as attending surgeon at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Fla. and as chairman of the Department of Surgery at Lawnwood Medical Center in Ft. Pierce, Fla.

His goal for NYHQ is to transform the hospital into the region’s leader in mass casualty management and trauma care.

Jazarevic, who has performed around 22,000 surgeries in his career, expects he will be able to transform NYHQ’s trauma unit into a Level 1 facility by the end of 2015. He said this will take a far-reaching overhaul of everything from training personnel to implementing new policies.

“Trauma affects every nook and cranny of the institution,” he said. “That is where the challenge is.”

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 9:27 pm, June 4, 2014
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