Hospital workers receive counseling after deadly school bus crash

Posted: Updated:

Hospital staff who treated nearly 40 Paramus fifth-graders injured in a deadly school bus crash say that they are still dealing with the emotional trauma one week later.

More than 20 of the injured were taken to Goryeb Children's Hospital at Morristown Medical Center on May 17 following that crash. Many of the patients were ones who suffered serious injuries.

“This was a tragedy of a magnitude that most people have not seen,” says Dr. Walter Rosenfeld, chair of the pediatric department.

Rosenfeld says that counseling is being made available to the staff at the hospital.

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“One on one, or as a group and sometimes units will choose to meet with a social worker or psychologist or someone else to get that kind of extra support after a traumatic event like this,” he says.

Rosenfeld says that while the doctors and nurses at the hospital are accustomed to treating sick and injured children, this incident stands out because of the number of injuries, which were brought in all at once.

Morris County officials say that the injuries ranged from minor to potentially life-threatening. At the time of the crash, one parent told News 12 New Jersey that he heard that at least one of the students had some fingers amputated as a result of the crash.

The fifth-graders at Paramus’ East Brook Middle School were heading to Waterloo Village for a class field trip when their bus was struck by a dump truck on Interstate-80 in Mount Olive. The force of the impact caused the bus to come off its chassis and overturn on to its side.

In addition to the injuries, 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and 51-year-old teacher Jennifer Williamson-Kennedy were killed.

The school bus driver, 77-year-old Hudy Muldrow, was charged Thursday with vehicular homicide in relation to the deaths. Morris County prosecutors say that Muldrow attempted to make an illegal U-turn on the highway because he missed a turn for his destination.

Dr. Rosenfeld says that all but a few patients at the hospital have been released.

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