JUNE NEWSLETTER Anniversary of Tragic Paramus Bus Crash & COVID Affecting Child Development

Check out our JUNE Newsletter below featuring the “Anniversary of Tragic Paramus Bus Crash” as well as “COVID Affecting Child Development”. Articles by Catherine Mazzola, MD, FAANS, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Laura Natoli, RN, BS, MS, APN, RNFA, Advanced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.




Anniversary of Tragic Paramus Bus Crash
COVID Affecting Child Development

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Our Team Recalling That Tragic Day:

Catherine Mazzola, MD, FAANS
Pediatric Neurosurgeon

I will never forget the Thursday of the Paramus Eastbrook School bus accident. Our team at NJPNI was just about to start our Thursday “lunch and learn”, when Dr. Louis Difazio called me. Lou is the Chief of the Trauma Team at Morristown and a great friend. He told me there was a bus accident and about 24 children were being transported to Morristown Emergency Room. While he was talking, I called my colleagues together, and we headed across the street. We were there within ten minutes, and the Trauma Bay was filled with pediatric patients, nurses, physicians, and surgeons. There were four children with serious head trauma that we cared for that day. We train for polytrauma events, but thankfully, we seldom must deal with multiple pediatric trauma patients at once.

Triage, or the rapid evaluation and management of emergency patients, is a skill acquired after years of training and experience. I remember evaluating the four head trauma patients and one of my colleagues questioning my direction. I remember feeling neither insult nor anger, but I repeated my “request” and stated that this was really not a request, but an “order” based on my experience. I told him that I would take full responsibility for all my decisions, regardless of the outcome. Days later, he asked me how I “knew” what to do in that situation. After years of training in Newark, Pittsburgh, and Hackensack, NJ, I have seen numerous head trauma patients and I knew what had to be done, expediently.

I made many decisions that day. I spoke to many parents. I will never forget sitting in the Pediatric ICU conference room and telling the mother of a child I had just operated on that her daughter had a 50% chance of making it through the night. There were tears in my eyes and she was sobbing. Today, with the efforts of so many great doctors and nurses and therapists, that child is alive. She will always have scars, both physical and emotional, that she and her family will live with forever. We were all changed that day.

I remember driving home that night and going to the Lions Club Carnival, where I was supposed to be volunteering. I recall looking at all the young kids, teens, and their families. I was thinking about how quickly life can change and how grateful we should be for everyday with our children.

Learn more about Dr. Mazzola...

Laura Natoli, RN, BS, MS, APN, RNFA
Advanced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

On May 17th, 2018 I was working as a new Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for NJPNI. We were seeing office patients when Dr. Mazzola was notified of a school bus accident. We stopped what we were doing and quickly rushed across the street to Morristown Medical Center.

The main takeaway I have from being involved with treating the children in the Paramus bus accident is the importance of TEAMWORK. Children’s lives would not have been saved if everyone was not working together! Neurosurgery, Trauma, ED, PICU, and OR staff all played crucial roles that day.

I became a nurse practitioner so that I could have an impact on the lives of others but more importantly, children. Through this experience, I have been able to see these children recover so well since their accident. I am so proud of the challenges they have overcome!

Learn more about Laura…

NJ Craniofacial Center Show Their Support!

NJ Craniofacial Team is a group of compassionate, highly-trained, board-certified surgeons, dedicated to improving the lives of infants and children with craniofacial conditions caused by trauma, birth defects, and disease.

At the 2019 NJ Craniofacial Gala, the NJ Craniofacial Center team honored all of the children involved in the Paramus bus accident. It was a fun event filled with raffles, gift baskets, patient stories, and presentations from many doctors!

Click below to see highlights from the event!


The NJ Craniofacial Center team is hosting the 10th Annual
NJ Craniofacial Gala on Tuesday July 27th, starting at 6pm, at
The Park Savoy Estate in Florham Park, NJ.

We hope to have another successful evening this year, honoring International Patients our team has treated for craniofacial disorders.


How Growing Up in a Pandemic is Affecting Kids

While Covid-19 is typically benign in children, the pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on society’s youngest members. With childcare programs closed and social distancing measures in place, many children are missing out on opportunities for development.
Children are lacking social interaction and important play time!
Lack of socialization have shown an increase in:
1. Speech delay
2. Depression
3. Obesity
4. Stranger anxiety
5. Difficulty sharing
6. Delay in social skills
7. Parental stress
As COVID restrictions ease up:
1. Realize that kids may be shy at first and have difficulty socializing
2. Encourage plenty of play time
3. Talk to your children about what to expect at school
4. To create secure attachedments, hire a babysitter so young kids are familiar with people other than their parents.
4. Try not to worry- kids are resilient!
5. Contact Early Intervention for evaluation of any speech delays

Socialization Tips During COVID

2 WEEKS until Dr. Kornitzer joins our team at NJPNI
Stay tuned for the July newsletter to learn all about him!

Meet our new Pediatric Neurologist

Click here to contact us now with any questions – info@njpni.com

Call Us at 973-326-9000