By Victoria Espinoza
Huntington Hospital has been under the leadership of Dr. Gerard Brogan for the past year, and since he assumed his post, the hospital has implemented new surgical procedures, protocols and equipment to ensure patients are offered the most advanced and effective treatment they can get.
Brogan, the executive director, first joined the team at Huntington in January 2015 but has been a resident of the town for the past 20 years.
“My philosophy is I want to work at a hospital where I would go as a patient or would send my family to,” Brogan said in a phone interview. “If anything happens to me in Huntington, I am coming to this ER.”
Huntington recently became the first hospital on Long Island to offer the O-arm, a surgical imaging system that generates a three-dimensional computer model of the spine. This over $1 million equipment helps doctors have a more precise view of what they are operating on during surgeries, like screwing nails into the spine.
During the operation, the neurosurgeon refers to the monitors, which provide real-time verification of the location of surgical tools and implants with submillimeter accuracy.
The first surgery using the O-arm was successfully completed at the end of March, and according to Brogan, six more successful surgeries have followed.
The executive director said this equipment ensures “the ultimate in surgical precision,” and that the use of this machinery is “an indication how cutting-edge our hospital is.”
“If you want to be a leader for excellence, you need this capability,” he said.
Dr. Robert Kerr, chief of neurosurgery at Huntington Hospital, was the first to use the O-arm.
“When you have to place a stabilizing screw into the spine and it passes within millimeters of the spinal cord, nerve root or vital arteries, there is no substitute for the kind of accuracy the O-arm provides to a neurosurgeon,” Kerr said in a statement.
Changes at the hospital are coming in even bigger packages.
The hospital is currently in the middle of creating an entirely new $43 million emergency department, which Brogan said will cut down waiting times, help diagnose patients faster and overall improve the quality of a patient’s stay while in the emergency department.
He said some of the protocol changes have already been implemented in the current emergency department, cutting down patients’ wait time by an average of 48 minutes, due to methods like including physicians when a patient is first being triaged and beginning blood work sooner, but added that he is excited to see further changes implemented.
“I think for the patients, the experience is going to be just phenomenal,” Brogan said.
Awards have followed the success of Huntington, with the hospital recently named a national 2016 Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The hospital is one of 11 named to this list, in the Northwell Health system. The nursing staff at the hospital also received Magnet Recognition for excellence in nursing for the past 12 years, a national recognition that less than eight percent of hospitals worldwide have earned.
“If we are going to do something [at Huntington Hospital],” Brogan said, “we do it as well, if not better, than anywhere else in the country.”