Tags Posts tagged with "Todd Griffin"

Todd Griffin

Health care workers at Stony Brook University Hospital crowd together after the flyover April 28. Photo by Kyle Barr

Even as the emergency health care community is due for a break after an intense surge in patients who had COVID-19 finally subsides, hospitals are seeing an increase in demand for surgeries and procedures residents had put off amid the crisis.

About 10 days ago, Stony Brook University Hospital saw a rise in admissions that were unrelated to COVID-19, said Dr. Todd Griffin, the President of Medical Staff and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine.

Indeed, in the last few days, the non-COVID admissions have been higher than the COVID-driven admissions, Griffin said.

“Patients were staying at home so long” during the pandemic that some of them “had to go into the emergency room,” Griffin said.

Stony Brook had been at pandemic level D during the worst of the crisis and is now getting ready to transition to Pandemic level C, which will allow them to operate on more semi-urgent patients.

These patients either have chronic pain that needs surgical remedies, cancers that are low grade but where waiting more than 30 days could exacerbate the condition, spinal cases that, if left untreated, could lead to more permanent disabilities, or cardiac cases.

“We’re really looking at starting up semi-urgent cases first, then we’ll look at the elective cases” some time later, Griffin said.

A medical team is looking at these types of decisions, trying to determine what falls into the semi-urgent arena and what becomes more of an elective procedure.

Up until recently, the ambulatory surgery center had been acting as an Intensive Care Unit. The hospital is thoroughly cleaning that area to make sure it’s safe for reentry for the general patient population, Griffin said. They are also assessing whether they have the staff to address medical issues that extend beyond helping people battling the virus.

“We are still far from a return to business as usual,” the medical staff president said.

Stony Brook is making sure it has enough personal protective equipment. One of the challenges in preparing hospital rooms for future surgeries is that the material used to make the drapes is the same as the material for surgical masks and gowns.

“A lot of that material was diverted,” Griffin said. The hospital wants to make sure it has enough drapes to meet the medical need.

Patients coming to Stony Brook hospital will need testing for COVID-19 before they receive treatment. The hospital is also considering whether they can test visitors and how that would be done to limit exposure for everyone in the hospital.
Stony Brook Hospital is also considering testing staff and physicians. The availability of testing will determine how many tests they administer and how frequently.

Even during the pandemic, Stony Brook has still been conducting about 10 to 15 procedures per day, which is well below the 70 to 80 patients who typically received treatment.

The individual departments have remained in touch with patients throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

“Our outpatient offices have still been open,” Griffin said.

Indeed, separate from responses to COVID-19, some areas of the hospital have become even busier, including obstetrics and gynecology.

Over the last three or four weeks, the hospital has received about 80 to 100 transfer patients, which is considerably higher than the five to 10 it receives in a typical week.

Some of those patients are residents of New York City and came to Stony Brook because hospitals in other regions had stopped allowing a support person during delivery.

Additionally, Stony Brook has single bedded units in its maternity ward, which means mothers have their own room throughout the process.

“We were trying to have as normal an experience as we can in a pandemic,” Griffin said. “I am so proud of the staff and nurses during this difficult time. They created the best experience for patients possible.”

Even with the hospital scheduling some additional surgeries in the weeks ahead, however, Stony Brook will follow Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) guidance, remaining at or below 70 percent capacity in the event of another surge in demand from COVID-19.

Griffin is concerned that he will “see a second surge during the summer,” which planners are keeping in the “backs of their mind” as they add more patients to the surgery schedule.

Additionally, the medical community has spoken broadly about the combination in the fall or winter of a second wave of coronavirus at the same time as rising infections from the flu.

As the hospital prepares for more surgery patients, they will continue with procedures that protect patients and hospital staff, which includes wearing masks and more rigorous and frequent hand washing.

“Patients need to understand that if they come to Stony Brook Medicine, they are coming to a safe environment,” Griffin said. Griffin suggested that “coming to the hospital is still safer than going to the supermarket.”

Update: This article has been updated to indicate that the number of OB transfers over the last three to four weeks has been a total of 80 to 100, rather than 100 per week over that same time period. It also indicates that Stony Brook is considering whether the hospital can test visitors and how that would be done and that it is getting ready to transition to Pandemic Level C.

Stony Brook’s 100,000th baby Luca Michael Picarella cries in his mother’s arms at Stony Brook University Hospital. Photo By Giselle Barkley

It’s a boy. It’s also a major milestone.

Katie Picarella of Rocky Point was wheeled into the room with her new bundle of joy and her husband Mike and daughter Gianna, 5, to celebrate the birth of Stony Brook Hospital’s 100,000th baby, Luca Michael Picarella on Thursday, Aug. 20. And by the time she was wheeled out, she had much more than a new member to her family.

The hospital presented blue cupcakes surrounded several pink cupcakes that spelled “100K,” in the Stony Brook University Hospital’s lobby in celebration of the event.

Todd Griffin, chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine, said he expected Katie Picarella to give birth near the end of August, and he was right. Attending OB/GYN and former Stony Brook student Julie Welischar delivered Luca the morning of Monday, Aug. 17.

Until a week ago the Picarella family was unaware of the news that Stony Brook was expecting its 100,000th birth.

Members of the hospital arranged blue and pink cupcakes to celebrate the 100,00th birth at the Stony Brook University Hospital. Photo By Giselle Barkley
Members of the hospital arranged blue and pink cupcakes to celebrate the 100,00th birth at the Stony Brook University Hospital. Photo By Giselle Barkley

“A friend of ours told us [that they] had been following this,” Mike Picarella said. “I started looking at it and [the friend] said, ‘you guys are getting close. It’d be funny if you guys are the couple.’”

But the expecting father said he was still surprised when the doctors informed him that his newborn son was the 100,000th baby.

The family didn’t just leave with their new baby boy, they also left with a gift basket, which awarded the Picarella family with $10,000 scholarship from the Island Federal Credit Union, a $2,500 scholarship toward tuition at the North Shore Montessori School, a $500 shopping spree among other gifts for the parents and their newborn.

Luca’s older sister Gianna, who was also delivered at Stony Brook, was also awarded with a brand new American Girl doll.

“Truly from the bottom of our hearts and all of our family’s hearts, we greatly appreciate it,” Mike Picarella said.

The entire Picarella family said they were thankful for the gifts and shocked by the news that they were the couple who birthed the 100,000th baby.

“Stuff like this doesn’t happen to us,” Katie Picarella said when speaking to the media. According to Picarella, the birth was scheduled for Friday after doctors realized Picarella’s baby would come before the end of August. But Picarella rescheduled the C-section delivery date because she wanted to have enough time to recover in order to attend her daughter’s Kindergarten screening.

The family of four also had the opportunity of meeting Jeff Solomon, who was the first baby born at Stony brook University Hospital on May 28, 1980 at 8:15 a.m. Solomon’s father Bob Solomon and step-mother Hope also attended the conference and met the family.

Before the family prepared to go home, Griffin highlighted the importance of the birth.

“For years the number of births on long island have been going down,” Griffin said. “We’re actually starting to see in the last year or two that the births have been going up.”