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Dr. Edmunde Stewart had a passion for riding horses. Photo Courtesy of the Steart family

By Vicky Stewart

Dr. Edmunde Andrew Cameron Stewart, 80, died Dec. 6 in St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, surrounded by the love of his family. Stewart had been fighting pneumonia. For the past several years, after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his lungs were compromised.

The Stewart family is most known for living on Old Field Road for many years, where he and his wife, Norma, raised their three children. Stewart was an orthopedic surgeon working at St. Charles Hospital and Mather Hospital, serving as the chief of orthopedics at Mather, for many years, and as a past president of the medical staff at both St. Charles and Mather. He had a private practice on Elm Street in Port Jefferson.

Stewart was also an exceptional equestrian and had a passion for foxhunting. He was the master of the Smithtown Hunt Club and a president of the Smithtown Hunt Horse Show. He is remembered affectionately by fellow foxhunters as “Doc” as he would often help injured riders, during a foxhunt. For many years, he moderated the hunt breakfast, to benefit the museums at Stony Brook. He also served three terms as a trustee for the Village of Old Field.

Although medicine and horses were his passions, his greatest love was his family. Right until the end, with family by his side, he was letting them know how much he loved them.

His legacy will live on through his loving family, who adored him. He leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Norma; his son Greg; daughters Victoria and Gillian; and son-in-law Juan. He was a loving grandpa to his four grandchildren, Olivia, Cameron, Benjamin and Emilia, all who affectionately called him “Deda.”

Stewart was a native of Dundee, Scotland. He was predeceased by his father Andrew Stewart, mother Winifred Byrd Lennox and sister Winifred Lennox Govan.

Stewart entered St. Andrew’s University Medical School in Scotland at the age of 17. Upon graduation in 1961, he did two specialty residences in Scotland: internal medicine and orthopedics. In 1962-63, he taught anatomy at St. Andrew’s University. He came to the United States in 1963 and served his residency in orthopedics at Nassau Hospital, Meadowbrook Hospital and here at St. Charles. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1971, and the following year he received his fellow of American College of Surgeons. He also served in the Army Reserve, as a reserve commissioned officer  for the United States Army.

The doctor was a man of many talents. His children remember him playing the trumpet and the piano. Prior to entering medical school, he had spent many years on the stage, as a member of the Dundee Repertory Theatre, with starring roles in productions of “Oliver Twist” and “Great Expectations,” to name a few. At the same time, although busy on the stage and with his studies, Stewart managed to find some time to participate in one of his favorite sports. For two years, he was the junior champion of the West End Lawn Tennis Club, a prominent private tennis club in his native Dundee.

While at St. Andrews, Stewart was a member of the university’s fencing team, touring England, Ireland and Scotland and in the process obtaining his “full blue” for the university.

He was laid to rest Dec. 10 at the Caroline Church of Brookhaven in Setauket, on a beautiful sunny day, with a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace,” in the distance.

“Every man dies, not every man lives” is a quote he was fond of, by William Wallace, a freedom fighter from Scotland near the end of the 13th century. This quote is a great testament to the fact that Stewart truly lived and lived with passion, until the very end. His fighting spirit and love for life will live on in all who knew him.

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File photo

Winter weather has affected blood donations, and Port Jefferson’s John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, located at 75 N. Country Road, will hold a blood drive on Monday, March 7, to help.

According to the hospital, snow caused many blood drives to be canceled; so the community needs donors to help keep cancer and surgery patients, accident and burn victims, anemic patients, newborns and their mothers and AIDS patients alive.

The Mather event — which will run from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Conference Rooms 3, 4 and 5 — is open to everyone and no appointment is necessary.

Free valet parking is available at the main entrance.

Donors will receive candy, McDonald’s certificates and a gift card to Panera or Target.

A view of the front entrance to Huntington Hospital on Park Avenue in Huntington. File photo

Hospitals across the North Shore and the country have been adapting to an entirely new set of medical codes over the last two months, completely changing the system in which a patient’s diagnosis is detailed.

As of October, all hospitals across the United States switched to the ICD-10 system, which allows for more than 14,000 different codes and permits the tracking of many new diagnoses. ICD-10, an international medical classification system by the World Health Organization, requires more specificity than the previous code system. Doctors at North Shore facilities said they agreed that although it’s time-consuming and has slowed productivity, it is more beneficial to patients in the end.

Dr. Michael Grosso, chairman of medicine at Huntington Hospital said these new codes should help make it easier for symptoms of various diseases to be tracked.

According to Gross, preparation for the new code started two years ago with a required education program for all physicians that described what all the new codes meant.

“Physicians are being called upon to provide more specificity and detail,” Grosso said in a phone interview. He described the codes as a “vast extension” to what the hospital was previously using and said it should “improve the quality of medical records and increase the amount of information that researchers can obtain and make for the best care for patients.”

Grosso also said that understanding and learning the codes was an important first step, but ongoing feedback on how the codes are being adopted is equally important. A feedback program has been created at each hospital.

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. File photo
John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. File photo

John Ruth, director of revenue integrity and interim chief compliance officer at Stony Brook University Hospital, said Stony Brook used outside resource companies with online courses to teach the new code to their physicians and coding staff.

Ruth said that a new code system was necessary, as the previous system, ICD-9, was created by WHO in the 1970s. He called ICD-10 a natural progression.

“There are a lot more codes for specific organ systems, muscles, muscle tendons and nerves than were required with ICD-9,” he said in a phone interview.

Ruth also said that ICD-9 was mostly comprised of three- and four-digit codes, and ICD-10 is up to seven digits in length, which makes the new coding more challenging but more valuable.

“If a patient has PTSD, we can assign a code from where he got it from, not just that he has it, which is important for planning his future and ongoing care,” Ruth said.

Stacie Colonna, associate director of inpatient coding at Stony Brook University Hospital, said there has been approximately a 30 percent decrease in staff productivity with the changeover to ICD-10 and a shortage of trained staff.

“I get 10 questions a day just from internal staff,” Colonna said. But she also noted that staff frequently asked daily questions about the old system as well. She said she expects productivity to improve in the near future.

At John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Joseph Ng said the staff went through web training, too. One-on-one training was also available if a clinician requested it.

Ng agreed specificity is both the pro and con of ICD-10. “Because it’s so specific, it really allows clinicians to hone in on what’s really going on with patients and be able to communicate better with one another,” Ng said in an email. “But because it’s so specific, sometimes it’s hard to find the right code, especially when it comes to procedures. The codes are not all inclusive.”

Looking forward, Grosso said the new system had a lot to offer for hospitals across the country because of the amount of information people could potentially learn from it.

“A number of private and government parties will benefit from the ability to look at more detailed hospital data,” Grosso said.

Linda Hallock, Jennie Sweeney, Kathy Sciacchitano, Jane Del Prête and Betty Baumach pose with their dollhouse. Photo from Mather Hospital

The women of Crafters for a Cause usually help their students learn to paint, but this summer the ladies decided to help people outside of the classroom.

Members Betty Baumach, Linda Hallock, Virginia Sweeney, Jane Del Prête, Kathy Sciacchitano and Martha Palermo recently donated a handmade dollhouse to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital to help fight breast cancer through its Fortunato Breast Health Center. The dollhouse will be raffled off at next year’s Families Walk & Run for Hope, an annual springtime fundraiser.

The women started building the roughly 2-foot-tall dollhouse in June. According to Baumach, a Lake Grove resident who leads the group, which meets at the New Village Recreation Center in Centereach, the volunteers teach people various forms of painting year-round — except during the summer.

“During the summer the teachers don’t teach,” Baumach said in a phone interview. “We still wanted to get together anyway so we said, ‘Oh, what could we do this summer to fill the time?’ so I suggested building a dollhouse.”

Baumach got the idea to donate the house to the Port Jefferson hospital because she brought her sick aunt to Mather in the past.

She had previously built five or six dollhouses, including this particular model of house, so drawing the plans was simple. Like all of Baumach’s dollhouse projects, it was made without a kit — the women designed and built each component by hand.

Until it is raffled off, the dollhouse will reside in the office of Cindy Court, the hospital’s development coordinator.

The eight-room house includes a living room, a dining room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a sewing room, among others. According to Court, the crafters brought individual boxes of furniture to decorate the house the day they donated it to the hospital.

“Each builder was responsible for decorating and furnishing one of the eight rooms,” Court said in an email. “They precisely [placed] each piece, down to the smallest detail.”

The group didn’t plan on furnishing the dollhouse until Sweeney found furniture on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Baumach provided the materials to build the house and was responsible for its exterior.

Court said the group used tongue depressors to make the roof shingles.

“I think it’s wonderful this group of women put so much time and love into this dollhouse and then donated it to Mather to help raise funds for the Fortunato Breast Health Center,” Dr. Joseph Carrucciu, who specializes in radiology at the center, said in an email.

While Crafters for a Cause enjoyed giving back to their community, it remains to be seen whether the dollhouse will become an annual effort.

“I think this was a one-shot deal as far as dollhouses go,” Baumach said in a follow-up email interview. “But they are trying to convince me to do another next summer.”

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The deck of the Martha E. Wallace, taken by John M. Brown. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
Spectators fill the dock to watch the Martha E. Wallace launch, taken by John M. Brown. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
Spectators fill the dock to watch the Martha E. Wallace launch, taken by John M. Brown. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive

It was the largest wooden sailing vessel ever built in Port Jefferson, during the village’s shipyard heyday.

The Martha E. Wallace was built at the Mather & Wood Shipyard in 1902 and topped off at more than 200 feet long and 1,108 tons, according to a history of prominent residents interred at Port Jefferson’s Cedar Hill Cemetery written by cemetery historian George Moraitis.

John Titus Mather — the very same whose name is memorialized on a Port Jefferson hospital, and one in a long line of shipbuilders — and Owen E. Wood had started the shipyard around 1879. Located on the harbor, near the current ferry terminal site, they quickly got to work building the first ship for the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, Nonowantuc, a wooden-hulled steam ferry, and later the original Park City ferry before designing the Martha E. Wallace.

The Martha E. Wallace is docked at Steamboat Landing. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
The Martha E. Wallace is docked at Steamboat Landing. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive

The schooner Martha E. Wallace launched on Aug. 2, 1902. According to “Images of America: Port Jefferson,” written by local library staffers Robert Maggio and Earlene O’Hare, it was “the last of the great schooners built in Port Jefferson,” with four masts and 16 sails. Those sails were made at the Wilson Sail Loft, another village business situated at the harbor.

About 2,000 people witnessed the ship’s launch, Maggio and O’Hare wrote, but the majesty was short-lived — the vessel was destroyed eight years later when she ran aground off the coast of North Carolina.

The Martha E. Wallace, under construction, sits at the Mather and Wood Shipyard with the Ida C. Southard, which is getting repairs. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive
The Martha E. Wallace, under construction, sits at the Mather and Wood Shipyard with the Ida C. Southard, which is getting repairs. Photo from the Port Jefferson Village archive

That incident was early one morning in late December 1910, and records show the Martha E. Wallace got stranded near Cape Lookout in the Southern Outer Banks, while carrying cargo on a trip between Georgia and New York. The small crew was rescued as the schooner was rapidly taking on water.

The Martha E. Wallace was one of several dozens of vessels the Mather family had a hand in building. A half-hull model of the ship is on display — along with other ship models and shipbuilding tools — at the historical society’s Mather Museum on Prospect Street in downtown Port Jefferson, based at a former Mather family home.