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A former EMT’s legacy provides world-class trauma care in Nassau County

In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, Officer Willard Gomes, a 12-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department, was on DWI patrol when he was struck by a drunk driver.

It took first responders 45 minutes to cut Officer Gomes out of his patrol car and get him to the Jane B. Stein Trauma Center at North Shore University Hospital. There, the trauma team tended to his head injury and fractured vertebrae, as well as his broken leg, arm and teeth. 

After an initial three-week stay at North Shore University Hospital, Officer Gomes continued his long-term recovery through physical therapy and regular follow-up with Dr. Jeffrey Richmond, director of Orthopedic Surgery, whom he credits with saving his arm.

quotation mark I am here because of the nurses and doctors at North Shore.
Officer Gomes

Two months after the accident, Officer Gomes, who for a time feared he’d never walk again, stood proudly as he was honored by the Nassau County Legislature. He used the occasion to express his appreciation for the team at the Stein Trauma Center. “I am here because of the nurses and doctors at North Shore,” Officer Gomes said. 

Jane B. Stein, for whom the Stein Trauma Center is named, was a first responder herself. She spent many years riding an ambulance as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) and knew firsthand the value a world-class trauma program brings to its community. 

The trauma center was dedicated in honor of Jane’s legacy and her generous $10 million bequest to North Shore. In addition to funding daily operations, Jane’s gift has allowed the trauma center to begin performing Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA), a procedure that uses a small balloon to stop bleeding in trauma patients with chest, abdomen or pelvic injuries.

Jane’s generosity allows Northwell doctors and nurses to train police officers and emergency services workers on ways to instruct teachers and community members to control bleeding in emergency situations. In the first year of our Stop the Bleed program, more than 100 instructors were certified.  

Giving back and educating the community are directly aligned with Jane’s family values. Her parents, Dorothy and Alvin Schwartz, also championed quality health care on Long Island and supported North Shore University Hospital. Those philanthropic values were passed down to Jane and her sister, Amy Spielman, who both worked to further their parents’ legacy. Jane’s daughter, Frances, also shares those values, supporting life-changing programs at North Shore and Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Learn more about Northwell’s emergency medicine and trauma program.

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