Mather Hospital announced this week its new cardiac catheterization lab is completed and is ready to serve patients — as soon as it receives its final Department of Health inspection and approval in the upcoming weeks.
According to Nursing Director for Cardiac Cath Services Nicole Hoefler, Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson is joining the few places on Long Island in hosting a cardiac catheterization lab to provide less invasive heart-related services to patients who need it.
“We’re here to basically help prevent serious heart attacks,” Hoefler said. “And prevent heart attacks that might be evolving.”
The labs specialize in using X-ray guided catheters to help open blockages in coronary arteries or repair the heart in minimally invasive procedures. These range from stenting to angioplasty and bypass surgery — that are less traumatic to the body and speed recovery.
“Sometimes, if a patient had a positive stress test, they’ll come in here so we can see what’s causing that pain they might have been having,” she noted. “Sometimes they need to have it for surgery clearance, like if they saw something on their EKG.”
The two new state-of-the-art rooms were approved by Northwell Health last year, alongside three other Northwell facilities. Construction began on the new spaces in August 2020, completing and turning over to the clinical staff on April 19.
By adding the two labs into Mather, Hoefler said they can help save a life.
“Every minute that passes when you’re having a heart attack slows your heart muscle,” she said. “So not having to transfer the patient out, and just bring them in from upstairs will be life changing.”
Both rooms will be able to accommodate approximately 20 patients per day with the 12 hours the labs are open.
The addition of the more than 3,000 square foot space is just another space that Mather can now provide patients better.
“I think the community just loves Mather,” Hoefler said. “Having this service
is just another reason to come here.”
After the New York State Department of Health updated its guidance regarding hospital visitation, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson has begun instituting limited visitation.
Beginning on Friday, April 2, visitation hours will now be from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. every day, and patients may have up to two visitors, with just one allowed at their bedside at any given time.
With the new guidelines, inpatient visitation is only allowed in non-COVID medical and surgical units, critical care unites and adolescent psych.
According to the hospital, visitation for the adult psychiatric unit will be accommodated by instituting two visitation sessions to be determined by the behavioral health staff during the hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
An adult will be allowed to accompany a patient during their visit to Mather in its outpatient/same day procedure areas and in our emergency room. The visitor will only be allowed to stay with the patient during the intake and discharge process.
The hospital said in a statement that exceptions will only be made in extenuating circumstances as determined by hospital staff.
Dennis Harrington, 65, of Miller Place, was battling COVID-19 as one of Mather Hospital’s long-term patients until he was discharged this week to his family and friends.
Outside the Port Jefferson hospital on March 17, friends, family and hospital staff held a “clap-out” for him, cheering him on as he was released.
During his 76-day stay, Harrington was intubated more than once, but ultimately survived his lengthy battle with the virus. Upon his discharge from the hospital, he was applauded as he was pushed through two lines of supporters holding thoughtful posters.
At the end of the line, an ambulance was waiting to take him to St. Charles Rehabilitation to continue his recovery.
“I felt all the prayers and they gave me strength,” Harrington said.
He has had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. Prior to his hospitalization, he had been an investigator for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. His roles included investigating crimes in the county by gathering evidence and assisting prosecutors with finding and interviewing witnesses.
“He does tremendous work for the office to secure justice on behalf of all the residents in Suffolk County,” said District Attorney Tim Sini (D). “But this is some of his best work yet, coming out of this.”
Sini, who has worked closely with Harrington over the years, came out to show his support for Harrington and his family, as well as for Mather Hospital itself.
Maggie Harrington thanked the hospital doctors, nurses, administration, housekeepers, physical and occupational therapists, and also “the man upstairs” for her husband’s tumultuous recovery. “By any means this man should be dead,” she said.
“There were some scary moments with Dennis, and we all came together as a community,” said Patricia Bonventre, a friend of the family, adding she was not surprised by the large turnout for Harrington’s release and saw many familiar faces in the crowd.
“I didn’t think I would make it,” Harrington said. “Thank you for everything. It really kept me going.”
“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is!”
From the start of the coronavirus epidemic that has hit this nation, this saying has been followed by local nurses Kathy Long and Nicole Flatley. These two hospital workers are at opposite ends of their careers, but share the common goal of helping their patients. Within a medical crisis that rivals and surpasses all other illnesses in recent history, COVID-19 has left a mark on the nation that will never be forgotten. Currently, at the time of reporting, there are well over 400,000 cases of this virus with close to 13,000 American lives lost. In New York State alone, there are almost 5,500 deaths with close to 140,000 confirmed cases that are growing every day.
Healthcare workers of every kind are facing extreme health hazards and working an extraordinary number of hours to help save lives and help stem the tide of the virus. Never has any other generation of Americans watched the USNS Comfort dock in New York Harbor to care for local citizens or see the government build field hospitals in Central Park, the Jacob Javits Center in New York City and closer to home at Stony Brook University.Even during times of war, children and young adults were still able to go to school to get an education. Due to the severity of COVID-19, some of the most common parts of our society have changed through online teaching, a practice now seen from one coast to the other.
As a 22-year-old resident of Sound Beach, Flatley has been a nurse at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson since August, 2019. It has been less than a year since she graduated from St. Josephs College, but she is now one of the 3.8 million registered nurses nationally battling the virus. For the last eight months, this newly hired employee has flourished into a trusted nursing member of the 3 South team in Mather, one that has been at the forefront for treating COVID-19 patients within Mather.
It is no surprise that Flatley is working long shifts to help men and women of all different ages fight the virus. As her former social studies teacher, I recognized her as a prepared, organized and motivated student willing to do her best within every assigned task. Flatley was a key member of the Rocky Point field hockey team which was amongst the most competitive on Long Island. In school, Flatley’s excellence with her academics enabled her to be placed on the National Honor Society. Armed with a brilliant smile, Flatley enjoys her time with family and friends.
Flatley is a “spunky” well rounded young lady who has the ability to talk to others with an upbeat personality, something she has utilized to care for her COVID-19 patients. Working overtime and in midnight shifts, Flatley said she is extremely thankful for the nurses that have helped guide her during the start of her career. With the staff around her, these nurses help determine any positive and negative coronavirus cases. Mather has seen the wide variation of symptoms, from shortness of breath, fever, diarrhea, and chest tightness. Nurses are covered from head toe in protective gowns and gear with suction and surgical face masks, along with face shields. While she said she has limited experience, Flatley has received an into-the-fryer education that has seen her handle daunting responsibilities at an extremely high level.
Experienced health care worker Kathy Long is the nursing manager for the 3 South Unit. This 30-yearnursing veteran nurse and Port Jefferson Station resident said she is extremely proud of her colleagues. During these stressful moments, her nurses have not taken a day off and have worked long hours through the rigors of the crisis. Long said she is extremely thankful for the compassion of her staff who have worked under the most challenging conditions that could be asked of any nurse. Former Athletic Director to St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington andPort Jefferson Station resident Don Buckley has known Long for many years, saying she has outstanding professional qualities and that he views her as a “wonderful, caring, loving nurse, and most of all wife and mother.It was no surprise to us when she became supervisor of 3 South, as she is a natural leader and highly respected.”
As the senior member of this department, Long was pleased with Flatley’s skills, and that she has shown to be “an advocate for her patients, a critical thinker, and a quick study.”
While Flatley may be a younger nurse, Long said she was pleased with her progress shown through many of these dark moments. As a parent of three boys who are about the same age as many of the younger staff at Mather, she has guided these younger nurses with vital information to get her through the hard days.
For 30 years, Long has observed trying medical conditions, but she maintains that this epidemic is by far the worst situation that she has ever endured as a nurse. The scary part of COVID-19, she said, is that the increased “spike” has not yet hit New York. Every precaution has been taken. In order to keep the contact limited between the patients and healthcare workers, the hospital issued I-Pads to people suffering from COVID-19. They use this technology to speak to the doctors and nurses when they are not in these rooms. The “nucleus” program, as its called, has allowed the patients greater access to those professionals that are helping them and for additional face time to see their loved ones who are unable to visit them. Long said the program has strengthened morale for their patients.
During every major moment that America has faced national adversity, people have always helped each other through trying times. Over the last twenty years, rescue workers spent countless hours at Ground Zero during and after the 9/11 attacks. For the previous two decades, American soldiers have been supported from home as they fought in major battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the next major aspect of patriotism has undoubtedly been observed through the healthcare workers in New York. New York City Fire Department trucks and crews have been placed in front of hospitals cheering the healthcare workers. With a smile, Flatley explained how the local fire departments have blasted their sirens at the same time to show appreciation to local hospitals that are on the “front lines” of the virus response.
As a senior nurse, Long said she is incredibly thankful of the outside aid sent to this hospital from restaurants like Ruvo East, the Port Jeff Lobster House and Rocco’s Pizza, just to name a few. She would like to recognize the local families that have also brought food for her staff and the many appreciation cards from children from as far away as West Sayville. These colorful notes by the kids have highlighted the many sacrifices all hospital workers are conducting on a regular basis for the COVID-19 patients. Many of these pictures are hung in an populated area in the hopsital, serving as a vital morale booster for all the hospital staff. It is possible Flatley will serve in the same role as Long in the future, supporting her staff as a pillar of nursing expertise and understanding.
Flatley has grown immensely during this mounting crisis. One of the greatest concerns that she deals with at her job is the “unknown” of this medical condition. The nurses continually work under unyielding pressures with no known cure, no timetable for it to end, and no shift ever being the same. Always a young lady with a can-do attitude, Flatley’s mother Jill describes her sheer pride in her daughter by saying, “I know it’s your job, but your kindness and courage to do it inspires me beyond words. I can tell you are making an immense difference in many lives. Love you and stay safe.”
Thank you to the doctors, support staff and nurses like that of Long and Flatley that have strenuously labored with their peers to provide love and comfort to the victims of this virus.
Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.
Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson will soon be joining nearby Stony Brook as one of the few places on Long Island to contain a cardiac catheterization lab to provide less invasive heart-related services.
New York State approved Northwell Health, which includes Mather in its group, to open four cardiac labs at different locations in New York. Alongside Mather, Lenox Health Greenwich Village, Plainview Hospital and Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco have been approved for labs. The lattermost was approved in December.
According to a Northwell release, these labs specialize in using X-ray guided catheters help open blockages in coronary arteries or repair the heart in minimally invasive procedures — ranging from stenting to angioplasty and bypass surgery – that are less traumatic to the body and speed recovery.
The approval means a big leap for the Port Jefferson hospital, which plans a $11.4 million, 3,644-square-foot addition that will include catheterization and electrophysiology labs. The construction is expected to finish and both labs be open by early 2021.
“With the investment in these four new PCI programs, we are able to advance our mission of improving access, as well as bringing high quality complex cardiovascular services to our patients in their local communities,” William O’Connell, executive director of cardiology services at Northwell Health, said in a release.
Mather president, Kenneth Roberts, has said in a previous interview with the Port Times Record that a big reason the hospital signed on with the health care network is to have the ability and room to innovate at the hospital and keep up with the times. He echoed that sentiment in a statement.
“With Northwell’s guidance and the diligence of our Mather team, Mather received approval from the New York State Department of Health to provide advanced cardiology programs which include cardiac catheterization, PCI and electrophysiology services,” he said. “Approximately 150 patients every year are [currently] transferred from Mather or St. Charles to have these services elsewhere.”
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 officerfor 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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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