By John Brhel
A teenage boy has been shot multiple times. He's rushed to an inner-city hospital, where his family waits in anguish. Did the bullets hit his heart? Will he make it? The tension is nail-biting. But thanks to the work of Dr. Adam Fox '92 and his team, the boy leaves the hospital alive and well.
It's a happy ending fit for TV, and that's just what it is — a scene from a primetime TV show. But Fox isn't an actor, he's a real-life trauma surgeon and one of several medical professionals from University Hospital in Newark, N.J., featured on "NY Med," an eight-episode docudrama that aired on ABC in the summer of 2014. "NY Med" follows medical patients and staff at two hospitals in the New York metro area: the posh New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and the gritty University Hospital.
"We're an inner-city hospital," says Fox, assistant professor of surgery at University Hospital. "We don't have all the bells and whistles of some of the more upscale hospitals. But we take care of everybody who walks in that door."
That "everybody" turns out to be a lot of people. Trauma Center at University Hospital is the sole Level I Trauma Center for the region of northern New Jersey. The hospital handles more than 3,000 trauma cases a year, about 28 percent of which are penetrating trauma (e.g., gunshot wounds, stab wounds). While others might pass out over the stress involved in handling these types of cases at such a high frequency, Fox finds it a rush. His job lets him be involved with the kind of trauma he's most interested in — a good mix of both blunt trauma and penetrating trauma.
"I find that, although it is emotionally exhausting sometimes and personally difficult to deal with and to understand why somebody would want to hurt someone, from an academic perspective I love it," Fox says.
Fox refers to himself as "the conductor of the trauma bay" on the June 26 premiere. It's his authority and quick thinking that led producers to ask him to be on the show. "When we first saw Dr. Fox in action in the trauma bay, we found his take-charge attitude extremely compelling," says Erica Baumgart, supervising producer for "NY Med."
"He instills confidence in his team and passionately commits himself to saving every patient that comes in the door."
Fox hopes that Binghamton University, which he says gave him "amazing opportunities," benefits from the exposure as well and that his appearance on the show can show current and prospective students what one can achieve as a Harpur College graduate.
"I'm incredibly proud of Binghamton," Fox says. "I thought this would just be a nice way of having people know that if you're in Binghamton you can do anything that you want and even end up on TV."
Last Updated: 3/1/17