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Huntington Hospital

The new front entrance of the emergency room. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

With the decision of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to lift the elective surgeries ban in Suffolk on May 16, area hospitals will be able to resume an important aspect of their day-to-day operations. 

Hospital officials have praised the news because elective and emergency procedures are seen as a vital source of revenue for these facilities. 

James O’Connor, president of St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and chief administrative officer of St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown, said it’s good news that both facilities can resume these important procedures. 

“It’s a public health issue, you have these patients that were holding off on these urgent and vital surgeries,” he said. “Those needs didn’t go away because of COVID-19.”

O’Connor said between them the two hospitals perform around 750-800 surgeries a month. Orthopedic, bariatric, spine and general surgeries are the most common. The hospitals have already started to bring back staff and furloughed workers have been contacted and will report back to work. 

Elective/urgent surgeries have been put on hold for nearly two months, in an effort to ensure there were sufficient hospital beds and medical staff available to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The St. Charles president said that he expects the hospitals to be back “at full volume” in performing surgeries by sometime next month.

“After week one, we will be ramping up the percentage of surgeries that will be done,” he said. “The first week will be at 25 percent and then we’ll keep going forward.”

Stony Brook University Hospital has begun bringing back personnel to the Ambulatory Surgery Center, main operating room and other areas. 

“The hospital is looking forward to rescheduling cases to provide the care necessary for its patients and addressing their surgical needs as soon as possible,” said Carol Gomes, chief executive officer at Stony Brook University Hospital. 

On average, approximately 100-120 cases daily are performed at the hospital. Those include general surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery, surgical oncology, cardiac surgery, trauma, kidney transplants, urologic procedures and gynecologic surgery. 

The return of these services will help hospitals who are in the midst of financial hardship from the ongoing coronavirus crisis.  

According to a report from the American Hospital Association, U.S. hospitals and health systems have lost around $50 billion per month on average during the COVID-19 crisis. From March 1 to June 30, the association estimates a total of $202.6 billion in losses. 

“Hospitals and health systems face catastrophic financial challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the AHA said in the report. 

The association also predicted more financial hardship as millions of people could be left unemployed and lose health insurance. It could lead to increased uncompensated care at hospitals. 

O’Connor said without those services health care systems would cease to function. 

At Huntington Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, officials have started to implement a daily symptom screening policy for all staff and developed a non-COVID care pathway for all elective/urgent procedures — from parking and presurgical testing to discharge. For the last eight weeks the hospital has been performing surgery on emergency cases. 

“I am confident we are prepared to safely take the next step with elective surgeries,” said Dr. David Buchin, director of Bariatric Surgery at Huntington Hospital.

Stony Brook University Hospital will also implement a number of safeguards in preparation for elective surgery patients. In addition to expanding on the use of telehealth, it will test all patients prior to surgery and have them self-isolate prior to operations. 

For St. Charles and St. Catherine hospitals, O’Connor said all patients will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test 72 hours before a planned procedure. 

A May 21 car parade was as classic as it gets.

Classic car owners from various clubs on Long Island came together to drive pass Huntington Hospital to show their gratitude for health care workers battling COVID-19. Hospital employees and neighbors had the chance to see scores of classic cars going pass the facility located on Park Avenue.

Before the parade, the car owners met at Mill Dam Park at 6 p.m. where the drivers donated food to Hauppauge-based Long Island Cares. Approximately, 1,000 pounds of food and $680 in funding was collected for the nonprofit that provides food for local residents experiencing food insecurity.

Organizations involved in the parade included Vintage Chevrolet Club of America, Mopar Club of Long Island, Classic Car Club of America, Long Island Corvette Owners Association, Mustang Shelby Club of Long Island, Model A Ford Club of Long Island, Long Island Street Rods, Antique Automobile Club of Long Island, Thunderbird Club of Long Island and Cap-A-Radiator Co.

Also on hand May 21 were residents who every day at 6:45 p.m. show up at the hospital entrance to cheer for the health care workers around the time shifts change.

Scott November leaves the rehabilitation center with his wife, Shelley, at the wheel. Photo from the November family

One Northport resident’s experience with the coronavirus led him to the brink of death, and now that he’s back at home, he’s beyond grateful for those who nursed him back to health.

The Novembers with their children and grandchildren. Photo from the November family

Scott November, 66, was Huntington Hospital’s first ventilated patient who has survived and recovered from COVID-19. After a journey that took him from at first not being able to be tested for the virus and trying to recoup at home, to a hospital visit that led to him being on a ventilator, November has now put 10 days of rehabilitation and more than a week of at-home quarantine behind him. As of April 24, he was finally able to see family members, even though it was from a distance.

“I was really exceptionally well and lovingly cared for in the hospital,” November said.

The father and grandfather, who is a purchasing and global operations manager for a brass fitting company in Brooklyn, said early in March he attended parties for his grandchildren. He said he was feeling fine, moving tables and kissing and hugging everyone.

The next day he went to work and felt good at the office and driving home at the end of the workday. However, when he arrived home and sat down for dinner, he began to shake violently. He had the chills, and when he took his temperature, he had a fever of 100.6 degrees. He laid down in the guest room and decided to stay in there until he got better as he didn’t want to infect his wife, he said.

Despite trips to two different urgent care facilities, he wasn’t tested for the coronavirus at the beginning of his illness as he wasn’t presenting with all the symptoms, and he was just given flu tests which came out negative.

November, who has psoriatic arthritis and diabetes, said looking back he understands why he wasn’t tested at the time as there weren’t enough tests available. When he made a second trip to one of the urgent care locations, he was given an X-ray to see if he had pneumonia. While the health care professionals there read it as negative, it was sent out to a radiologist who noticed spots on his lungs and saw pneumonia.

November said he took his health in his own hands and spoke with an administrator at the urgent care and his call was passed on to one of the heads of the chain, who went through his information and saw the radiologist’s report. It was then the Northport resident was told to get tested for COVID-19. He was able to get the test March 16, but that night his symptoms worsened. His wife called his primary physician where she was instructed to call an ambulance.

EMT personnel soon showed up in full hazmat uniforms, and he was brought to the emergency room at Huntington Hospital. He said the new emergency center has individual rooms with doors so he was able to be isolated as he was in a room for two days until it was determined he should be taken to the critical care unit and be put on a ventilator. Though, he said, he has no recollection of the move to the CCU as he was in a medically-induced coma.

He called the nurses heroes and added that they can’t practice social distancing like others while caring for patients. All they have between themselves and the patients, he added, are gloves, sheer gowns and face coverings.

“They have to trust that they’ll stay safe,” he said. “They’re heroes. They went beyond the extra mile.”

“It’s so important for families and caregivers to have a bond and have communication. It made me a real person.”

— Scott November

November said he is grateful that his caregivers did everything they could to keep in touch with his family regularly through phone calls and FaceTime and answered their questions about his condition since COVID-19 guidelines prevent visitors at hospitals.

“It’s so important for families and caregivers to have a bond and have communication,” he said. “It made me a real person.”

To make up for the lack of family interaction, the nurses hung up family photos and his grandchildren’s drawings on the hospital room walls. His wife, Shelley, said the health care workers felt her family’s desperation, and at times nurses would fix her husband’s hair and even stroke his head to comfort him.

November said he was told there were several patients in the CCU while he was there, and he witnessed health care professionals scrambling to learn more about the novel virus, even joining online forums to talk to other nurses and doctors around the country.

November is grateful to be alive, he said, as he heard that others on ventilators lost their battles against the virus. Not only that, he almost died himself. His wife had received a call during his stint in the hospital that he was close to death, but the nurses tried one more thing. They heard that putting patients in a prone position helped to increase oxygen intake, and they decided to put him on his stomach. The move worked.

While November was in the hospital, his wife, who is 65, also came down with the coronavirus, though she didn’t need to be hospitalized. She said while she was fortunate not to be admitted to the hospital, it was tough dealing with everything, and when she was at her worst, her husband was also at his. Both she and her husband are grateful that their children Jordan, Courtney and Remy were able to help out, leaving groceries by their mother’s door when she needed to quarantine.

When the husband was finally extubated and able to leave the CCU, he said he had no core strength and wasn’t self-sufficient so he was sent to a rehab facility. Then days after entering rehab, he was able to walk 300 feet, climb three flights of stairs and become self-sufficient enough to use the bathroom and groom himself on his own. 

On April 17 he left rehab, and after eight days of quarantining at home, he said he was thrilled to see his family, even if it was from a distance. 

“There were prayers to God, to Jesus, to Allah. There were prayers to everybody on my behalf.”

— Scott November

When it comes to getting through the rough times, November said he is a big believer in science and knows everything the doctors and nurses did and all the research being done played a part in his recovery. Calling himself an agnostic, he added he also believes it has something to do with the diverse groups of friends he and his wife, as well as his children, have.

“There were prayers to God, to Jesus, to Allah,” November said. “There were prayers to everybody on my behalf.”

He said his recovery and being able to unite with his family is bittersweet though, because he knows of the many lives that have been lost to the coronavirus. Knowing that he is also concerned for those who have not been able to mourn for their loved ones with funerals and services.

“They’re not a number. Each one of them is  a human being,” he said. “Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, grandchildren, coworkers, friends — they have their camaraderie.”

His wife agreed that families are destroyed, and it’s frustrating for nurses who put the same efforts into everyone’s care.

“It’s really hard to understand why he was spared,” she said. “Why did the universe have mercy on us and not others, and it’s hard to live with that.”

Photo from Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital has achieved a prestigious four-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in its annual 2020 hospital rankings, its comprehensive quality measurement report released on Jan. 30.

CMS hospital rankings of more than 4,000 Medicare-certified facilities nationwide take into account over 50 performance measures that analyze health care outcomes such as readmission rates, patient experience, safety and quality of care. CMS’ hospital rankings are considered among the best hospital report cards to help inform where to receive medical care.

Huntington Hospital’s CMS rating follows its recognition as New York State’s highest-ranked community hospital by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019-20 Best Hospital list.

“From redesigning our Center for Mothers & Babies to include all private rooms for a better patient experience to consistently setting and meeting high benchmarks for health care quality, we at Huntington Hospital take our patients’ needs to heart as we thoughtfully provide them with world-class care,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. 

“We are always looking at ways to not only provide the necessary health care that our Suffolk County residents require, but to go above and beyond to give them the best medical care available,” he added.

Huntington Hospital nurses have received the highest nursing honor – Magnet designation – a Long Island record four times in a row.  The hospital’s orthopedics program has also been consistently been ranked by the Joint Commission with the gold seal of approval for its hip and knee replacements and was among the top 1 percent nationally in orthopedics, according to U.S. News. 

Huntington Hospital has also been designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology and a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation.

For more information about Huntington Hospital, go to www.huntington.northwell.edu or call 631-351-2000.

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Photo courtesy of Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital has achieved a prestigious four-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in its annual 2020 hospital rankings, its comprehensive quality measurement report released on Jan. 30.

CMS hospital rankings of more than 4,000 Medicare-certified facilities nationwide take into account over 50 performance measures that analyze health care outcomes such as readmission rates, patient experience, safety and quality of care. CMS’ hospital rankings are considered among the best hospital report cards to help inform where to receive medical care.

Huntington Hospital’s CMS rating follows its recognition as New York State’s highest-ranked community hospital by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019-20 Best Hospital list.

“From redesigning our Center for Mothers & Babies to include all private rooms for a better patient experience to consistently setting and meeting high benchmarks for health care quality, we at Huntington Hospital take our patients’ needs to heart as we thoughtfully provide them with world-class care,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. 

“We are always looking at ways to not only provide the necessary health care that our Suffolk County residents require, but to go above and beyond to give them the best medical care available,” he added.

Huntington Hospital nurses have received the highest nursing honor – Magnet designation – a Long Island record four times in a row.  The hospital’s orthopedics program has also been consistently been ranked by the Joint Commission with the gold seal of approval for its hip and knee replacements and was among the top 1 percent nationally in orthopedics, according to U.S. News. 

Huntington Hospital has also been designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology and a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation.

For more information about Huntington Hospital, go to www.huntington.northwell.edu or call 631-351-2000.

 

Huntington Hospital’s four midwives, from left, Laura Jabbour, Jessica Hilsenroth, Michele Mayer and Lindsay Price. Photo from Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital’s four midwives are now seeing patients at Northwell Health Physician Partners ob/gyn offices in Commack and Smithtown. 

Midwives Michele Mayer, Jessica Hilsenroth, Laura Jabbour and Lindsay Price have office hours at 777 Larkfield Road in Commack and 222 East Middle Country Road, Suite 114 in Smithtown. In addition, the midwives see patients at Huntington Hospital’s Women’s Center at 270 Park Ave. in Huntington.

“In response to patient requests, we have begun seeing women at these convenient offices to better serve the residents of Suffolk County,” said Mayer, supervisor of Huntington Hospital’s midwife practice. 

Midwives provide care to women from their first gynecologic visit through menopause with comprehensive prenatal care and natural childbirth; well woman exams; treatment of common gynecologic issues; and contraception consultation, initiation and surveillance.

To schedule an appointment with a Huntington Hospital midwife, please call 631-351-2415. 

For more information about the Northwell Health Physician Partners Obstetrics and Gynecology call 631-775-3290 (Smithtown office) or 631-470-8940 (Commack office).

Huntington Hospital will honor the owners of The Paramount — pictured from left, Brian Doyle, Jim Condron, Stephen Ubertini and Dominick Catoggio — at The Social, an event supporting the hospital and its future cancer center on Nov. 21.

“The Paramount has blossomed into a cultural center and economic engine for the Town of Huntington, a venue the community can be proud of,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. “They have reinvented and improved the cultural experience of downtown Huntington. I know that employees and patients alike excitedly look forward to attending performances at The Paramount.”

“It’s a great experience thanks to these gentlemen, who brought world class entertainment to our doorstep. Their artistic vision and community spirit are among the reasons we are excited to honor them at this year’s gala,” Fitterman said.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Dolli Bross at 631-470-5204 or email [email protected]

Photo from Huntington Hospital

Town of Huntington will host a Organ Donor Enrollment Day Oct. 10. File photo by Rohma Abbas

 Huntington council members Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol are urging Huntington residents to register to be an organ donor as the town is hosting an Organ Donor Enrollment Day October 10. Residents can sign up at Town Hall or Huntington Hospital. 

New York State ranks last in the country with only 35% of registered organ donors versus the average of 50% registered across the country.

A recent study showed that 92 percent of New Yorkers support organ and tissue donation, only 35 percent of New Yorkers are registered as organ donors. Every 18 hours, a New Yorker dies waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

That means that people can wait an average of 7 or more years to receive a lifesaving transplant. Meanwhile every 18 hours, a New Yorker dies on the waiting list. Now in its fifth year, Organ Donor Enrollment Day presents New Yorkers with a convenient opportunity to make their support known and to sign up as an organ and tissue donor.  This year, Huntington Hospital is hosting Organ Donor Enrollment Day as a facet of its partnership with the LiveOnNY to facilitate tissue and organ transplants.

 “I can tell you from personal experience that organ and tissue donation saves lives,” Cuthbertson said. “My son, Hunter, received a bone marrow transplant a few years ago and he is doing fine today. He was lucky, his donor was his brother. Only 25% of family members are a match, that leaves 75 percent of people needing transplants to rely on the kindness of strangers.”

Cergol also spoke on her experiences.

“A family friend’s son needed a heart transplant and I watched as he became weaker and weaker waiting for a heart, thankfully that call came and he received his transplant,” she said. “Not every New Yorker is as lucky as he was, we need to bring New York out of last place and save lives.”

Doing their part to help change the statistics, Cuthbertson and Cergol announced yesterday that preparations were underway for the 3rd annual 5k Run to Save Lives to be held on Sunday April 19, 2020 at Oldfield Middle School. 

The run annually brings together competitive and recreational runners with transplant recipients, donor families and organizations promoting organ donation and highlighting the need for people to enroll as organ donors. More than 250 people participated in the 2019 race, which raised $16,000 for organ donation groups.

It’s not too early to sign up. People can register online at: https://events.elitefeats.com/april-2020-town-of-huntington-5k-to-save-lives

To sign up to be an organ donor, please go to www.liveonny.org 

Compiled by David Luces 

Photo from Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital has received a two-year designation as an Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence (AS CoE) by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The hospital is one of only 35 hospitals nationwide to receive this recognition.

More than 700,000 people die worldwide each year due to antimicrobial-resistant infections. The AS CoE program recognizes institutions that have created stewardship programs led by infectious disease (ID) physicians and ID-trained pharmacists who have achieved standards established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC core elements for antibiotic stewardship include seven major areas: leadership commitment, accountability, drug expertise, action, tracking, reporting and education.

Dr. Cynthia Ann Hoey and Dr. Adrian Popp, infectious disease specialists, worked closely with pharmacists Agnieszka Pasternak  and Nina Yousefzadeh to ensure Huntington Hospital met the rigorous criteria to be recognized by the IDSA.

“We are honored to have received this prestigious IDSA recognition,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, the hospital’s executive director. “We are committed to fighting antimicrobial resistance through our comprehensive training and educational outreach program with all of our infectious disease specialists and pharmacists. The antimicrobial stewardship program will improve patient care and preserve the integrity of current treatments for future generations.”

Pictured from left, Nina Yousefzadeh,  Dr. Cynthia Ann Hoey, Agnieszka Pasternak and Dr. Nick Fitterman.

From left, Huntington Subaru General Manager Gary Farley and Sales Manager Vinny Rizzo present Huntington Hospital’s Dr. Nick Fitterman and Dr. Robert Kerr with a $35,000 donation. Photo from Northwell Health

CHECK PRESENTATION

Huntington Subaru donated $35,000 – proceeds from its Share the Love program – to Huntington Hospital’s neurosurgery department on April 15.  

Subaru’s Share the Love program involves Subaru of America, on behalf of Huntington Subaru, donating up to $250 for every vehicle leased or sold at the Huntington dealership between Nov. 15, 2018 and Jan. 3, 2019.

“This generous donation will help Huntington Hospital’s neurosurgery program to continue to stay on the forefront providing cutting-edge medical care to Suffolk County residents,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital.

The hospital’s neurosurgery department is led by Dr. Robert Kerr, chair of neurosurgery. He helped institute the O-arm in 2016, a state-of-the-art imaging system that allows surgeons to precisely see where to place hardware during delicate neurosurgery. Huntington Hospital was the first on Long Island to use this system.

For more information about Huntington Hospital’s neurosurgery department, call 631-351-4840.