Tag Archive | "Stony Brook University Medical Center"

Community Rallies Around Accident Victim

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Many Sag Harbor residents think of Jhenny Bueno Arias much as Saqib Hameed does — bright, affable, hard working and great with children. Those are the qualities that made her shine for many who frequent the 7-Eleven where Arias and Hameed work at in Sag Harbor.

Since Arias, 36, was struck by a Jeep while walking home from work on January 15, community members have rallied around the single mother of four, donating roughly $1,600 through a bake sale at 7-Eleven and another $2,000 in donation jars.

According to Hameed — the manager at 7-Eleven and a friend of Arias — the injuries she suffered as a result of the accident will likely leave her thousands more in debt. This is why Hameed, working with several other residents, has vowed to continue fundraising to aid Arias, who as a single mother was the breadwinner for her four children.

On January 15, around 7:30 p.m. Arias was struck while crossing Brick Kiln Road at the intersection of Main Street. She was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center where she was treated for a number of injuries including a punctured lung, broken ribs and a fractured hip and pelvis, among others, said Hameed.

The 60-year-old East Hampton driver involved in the accident was not injured and police did not charge him with a crime.

Hameed said Arias, who is a Sag Harbor resident, was sent home from the hospital this week, largely because of her lack of health insurance. Her injuries have still left her unable to walk, said Hameed.

Hameed said he was working to get her into a serious rehabilitation program for her injuries. Arias did start physical therapy earlier this week and does have help from her older son, he added, but medical bills and household expenses are piling up and fundraising is necessary, said Hameed.

Hameed has recently begun asking people to donate to Arias cause by making a check payable to Jhenny Bueno Arias and dropping it off at 7-Eleven or mailing it to P.O. Box 3134, Sag Harbor, New York 11963.

Hameed has been aided in the fundraising effort, he said, by Julie Adamski and Delia Chicka, who helped organize a bake sale that raised over $1,600 for Arias.

“Everyone has already been so supportive, it makes me very happy to live here,” said Hameed. “We have such a loving and helping community in Sag Harbor. I am very grateful for Jhenny.”

Regional Healthcare System Praised by Officials Touting Stony Brook and Southampton Hospital Affiliation

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Flanked by government leaders at a Monday morning press conference, officials from Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University Medical Center lauded plans for an affiliation between the them. It’s the beginning of what both facilities hope will become a regional healthcare system for the East End of Long Island.

At the press conference, leadership from Stony Brook University, the State University of New York and Southampton Hospital announced they have signed a non-binding letter of intent in which Southampton Hospital will join Stony Brook University’s medical system and construct a new hospital building on the Stony Brook University Southampton campus.

For Robert Chaloner, the CEO of Southampton Hospital, the opportunities presented in an affiliation with Stony Brook will allow the hospital to grow in a positive direction.

“It’s hard for me to walk anywhere in this community without hearing the role the hospital plays,” said Chaloner. “We are the largest employer, we are an economic engine for the community, we are the organizing force for keeping doctors here in the community and we are the developer of services. And many people, especially as you go further east into East Hampton communities and out to Montauk, are frightened at the fact that we may move or any change we have made because we are an isolated community that is aging in its demographic.”

“We need to partner as we move forward,” said Chaloner, “because when all is said and done we are still a small community hospital entering an era of unprecedented change in health care and an era where hospitals of all sizes will be stressed and challenged.”

“We need a partner we can work with to ensure the long term survival of this organization,” he added. “And I can’t think of a better partner than Stony Brook University Medical Center.”

According to a press release issued the morning of the press conference, Southampton Hospital’s 125-bed facility would provide care under Stony Brook University Hospital’s New York State operating license. As the affiliation between the hospitals moves forward, Stony Brook and Southampton officials will comply with the collective bargaining agreements with public unions at Stony Brook University Hospital and the private sector unions at Southampton Hospital.

Southampton Hospital employees will maintain their status as private sector employees along with all of their collective bargaining rights, according to the release.

The letter of intent calls on Southampton Hospital to continue clinical services on the South Fork with a joint advisory committee made up of members appointed by both hospitals advising on strategic and community issues for the East End facility.

The letter of intent also calls for launching a Southampton Hospital led philanthropic campaign to raise funds to build a new state-of-the-art hospital on Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus. Southampton Hospital’s current facility on Meeting House Lane opened in 1909.

According to Congressman Tim Bishop — who joined New York State Senator Ken LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele at the press conference — this affiliation will lead to expanded educational opportunities for the hospitals and serve as an economic driver allowing the college campus to realize its potential.

“It is so important from so many different vantage points not the least of which is the educational opportunities which will give rise to the economic possibilities that will solidify that college and solidify the role we have always wanted it to play on eastern Long Island,” said Bishop, who has had four generations of his family born at Southampton Hospital and who also served as the provost for Southampton College when it was owned by Long Island University. “Let’s go forward and make this happen.”

Like Bishop, Thiele has roots in both the hospital and the college. Born at Southampton Hospital and a graduate of Southampton College, Thiele noted his life literally would not be what it is today without both institutions.

“And to see those things brought together and married together into something that is going to benefit so many people in this community is just something I couldn’t be more proud of,” said Thiele.

According to the terms in the letter of intent, the next step in the process is for the two hospitals to enter “a due diligence phase,” during which they will exchange business, financial and legal information. Final agreement would also require the approval of numerous New York State regulatory and legislative authorities as well as the Southampton Hospital Board of Trustees.

For LaValle, Monday morning’s press conference was the first step in realizing a 20-year dream. The concept of a regional healthcare system for the East End has been on LaValle’s mind for two-decades, since he passed a bill allowing loan deferral for medical students who agreed to work in a medically underserved area like the East End for as long as five years.

“That was the first recognition that the community I represented was medically underserved,” said LaValle.

He would later talk to former director and CEO of Stony Brook University Medical Center, Michael Maffetone about a vision where Stony Brook was the center of a regional healthcare system for the whole of the East End, including Southampton Hospital, the Peconic Bay Medical Center and Eastern Long Island Hospital.

“It is all about the delivery of quality care and as was mentioned not only will people be getting quality care but within the environment we are increasing job creation because what will happen is more doctors will come out here, open office and they have to hire people,” said LaValle. “It is a win-win.”

“Initiatives like this are going to help us provide better medical care to the people of the East End of Long Island,” said Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel Stanley. “And it is also going to help Stony Brook University fulfill its mission as an academic medical center to train the next generation of medical care providers.”

Stony Brook University Hospital’s new CEO and vice president for health systems Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak comes to Stony Brook from the Inova Health System in northern Virginia, which Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, the senior vice president of health sciences and the dean of Stony Brook University School of Medicine said has given Dr. Pasternak the tools necessary to help develop another successful health care system on the East End.

“This is truly a great day for the residents of eastern Suffolk County,” said Dr. Kaushansky. “It is a day that marks a new era in health care on Long Island — regional health care.”

Update: Sag Harbor Trustee Robby Stein Readies to Leave Hospital After Sunday Bicycle Accident

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Sag Harbor Village Trustee Dr. Robby Stein remained in Stony Brook University Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon after a Sunday bicycle accident left Stein with two fractured vertebrae, a concussion, broken nose, lacerations to his face and head and a shoulder injury.

However, despite his injuries on Tuesday afternoon Dr. Stein said he is recovering, has not lost his mobility and after physical therapy and rest expects to make a full recovery.

Dr. Stein said he was in conversations with his doctors about rehabilitation options and was unsure when he would be discharged from Stony Brook University Medical Center but hoped it would happen some time on Tuesday.

According to Sag Harbor Village Police, around 1:30 p.m. Sunday police received a report from a passing motorist who said they found Dr. Stein injured on Suffolk Street Extension. What exactly happened remains unclear as Dr. Stein was alone at the time of the accident. He cannot remember what occurred and there are no witnesses, but according to police he may have flipped over the handlebars of his bicycle and skidded across the roadway.

On Tuesday, Dr. Stein said that may have in fact been the case, although he has some recollection of an earlier accident on Oakland Avenue where he was hit by something, but recovered and biked on. Dr. Stein noted given his lack of memory of the whole experience, that may or may not have actually happened.

According to Dr. Stein, he could not even remember the helicopter ride to Stony Brook.

When police arrived, along with the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, they found Dr. Stein, bleeding on the side of the road with a large laceration on the front of his face. He was not wearing a helmet, said police.

Dr. Stein was airlifted by Suffolk County Police Medevac from Havens Beach, according to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, and transported to Stony Brook University Medical Center where he has remained since.

“Our thoughts are with Robby and his family, and he is doing okay,” said Mayor Gilbride on Sunday night. “He took a hard shot, but this is a guy who is in great shape. All of us on the village board are wishing him well and we know he a strong guy and will be back in no time.”

During Monday night’s Harbor Committee meeting, that board wished Stein the best after board member Jeff Peters informed the board of Stein’s condition.

“I just wish from this board a speedy recovery for Trustee Stein,” said Peters.

On Tuesday, speaking from his hospital bed with wife Alex McNear by his side, Dr. Stein said he has received stitches for a laceration on his face and that doctors had discovered the two spinal fractures, but that in time with rehabilitation and rest he is expected to heal.

“It’s totally ruined my ability to do the Macarena,” he joked.

Knights to the Rescue

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On August 15, Pierson 11th grader Max Snow and Kyle Lutnick (pictured above with Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Mary Andriola, Paulette Walters and Brooke Rose with the Child Life Program) met with a six-year-old child at Stony Brook University Hospital who is battling with Leukemia. Surrounded by his parents, grandmother and two younger brothers, the boy was thrilled when Snow and Lutnick handed him a brand new Nintendo DS console – a personal video game machine – and new games to play with. His brothers received the same gift.

The donation was one of several donations made through the Game Knights, the brainchild of Lutnick. Snow and his eighth grade brother, Ben, founded Game Knights Hamptons, a local chapter of the organization in late 2011.

The Game Knights is a not-for-profit dedicated to engaging and distracting children going through sometimes-lengthy hospitalizations while fighting serious illnesses. The Knights collect new and used video game devices, game, DVD players, iPads, movies and financial donations used towards the purchase of those items, which are then donated to children in need.

According to Max and Ben’s mother, Gay Snow, Game Knights Hamptons has recently partnered with Stony Brook University Hospital and its Child Life Program and will fulfill those children’s wish lists through the not-for-profit.

“They are childhood friends, and now work together to help other children who are sick or receiving treatments in hospitals,” said Snow of Lutnick and Snow.


Family Joins Suit Over Son’s Donated Organs

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When Lisa Koehne’s son Alex lay in a bed at Stony Brook University Hospital two years ago this month, she sensed there was something wrong other than what the doctors were telling her. Alex, had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and after 17 days at the hospital, died on March 30, 2007.

But what Lisa and her husband Jim learned weeks later was that it was actually a rare and extremely aggressive form of cancer — anaplastic central nervous system T-cell lymphoma — that took their son’s life.

To compound their grief, they learned several months later that two of four patients who received organs from Alex had died, the organs themselves infected with the cancer.

Beginning early last year, lawyers for all four organ recipients started a series of suits against the medical center as well as Southampton Hospital, where Alex had been treated initially as an emergency patient, and where meningitis was first diagnosed by Dr. Robert Semlear, the family physician at the time, who is also named in the suit.

This week the Koehnes also joined the suit, arguing simply, the doctors and hospitals should have done more.

“We never got any answers from Stony Brook or Southampton,” said Jim Koehne in an interview Tuesday.

“We knew we would have to give depositions, and we asked ourselves if we wanted to go through this all again,” said Jim. “And we said, ‘yes we do, we want to know what happened’.”

Also named in the claims, which allege negligence in Alex’s misdiagnosis, are New York University Hospital and one of its physicians, Dr. Thomas Diflo, who performed one of the transplants, and doctors Kimberly Fenton, Salma Syed, Daniel Sloniewski and Mary Anderson — all associated with Stony Brook — and neurologist Norman Pflaster, of Southampton.

Alex was initially admitted to Southampton Hospital by Dr. Semlear, where he stayed for a week, and was released with antibiotics and pain killers, according to Mr. Koehne. Then days later, Alex’s extreme pain and sudden seizures drove the family to take him to Stony Brook, where doctors maintained the same bacterial meningitis diagnosis.

Southampton Hospital spokesperson Marsha Kenny said the hospital does not comment on issues of litigation.

Lauren Sheprow, spokesperson for Stony Brook University Medical Center responded “we do not comment on matters before the court or on any specific patient due to state and federal patient privacy laws.”

She added: “In general, every matter that involves organ donations or transplantation at SBUMC is handled according to the guidelines of UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), which has federal authority over organ donation and transplantation in the U.S., and New York Organ Donor Network, the local authority over organ donation as designated by UNOS.”

“Every organ donation case by its very nature is surrounded by tragic circumstances, and we grieve with families as they struggle to make a very personal and private decision at a very painful time,” she wrote in an email. “We admire the strength, compassion and commitment of those who help save the life of another through donation, even as they are suffering the pain of the loss of their own loved one.”

The firm of Dankner & Milstein initiated the first claim in January 2008 on behalf of Gerardo Trueba of the Bronx, who received one of Alex’s kidneys. The other kidney recipient was James Kelly of Mount Sinai, L.I. Both men, after learning of the true diagnosis, had the donated kidneys — which had been infected with cancer — removed. Both men underwent chemotherapy, which appears to have been successful said Adam Kauffman, an associate at Dankner & Millstein. Both men, however, also are on dialysis, and probably will be for life, he said.

The other recipients included Kitman Lee, a 52-year old hepatitis B cirrhosis patient of Brooklyn, who received Alex’s liver at NYU Medical Center. He also contracted the same cancer that killed Alex and died 116 days later. The recipient of Alex’s pancreas, 36-year old Jodie Lynn Shierts of Pequot Lakes, who had type 1 diabetes mellitus, had the donated pancreas removed, but died as a result of lymphoma.

The complaints allege that the hospitals failed to rule out meningitis through tests, the long onset of Alex’s illness, and the failure of antibiotics to cure it, and failed to seek any other cause for the illness. In addition, the complaints say the organs were released without confirmation of cause of death.

The Koehnes’ complaint is based on “the failure to diagnose their son’s true condition,” said firm partner Edward Milstein.

“As a result, their son didn’t receive treatment,” said Milstein, “he didn’t have the chance to benefit from treatment.”

Milstein added, however, they are not alleging that, even if Alex had received a prompt diagnosis or treatment, he would have survived.

Jim Koehne remembered this week when they were standing by their son at Stony Brook, his wife Lisa looking at Alex’s eyes and noting how one eye rolled a different way.

“’There’s something else wrong’,” he remembers her saying.

It was a mother’s intuition he felt was ignored.

 “I really feel the diagnosis was handled incorrectly,” said Mr. Koehne. “They could have looked in a different direction.”

Mr. Koehne acknowledges the cancer was so virulent that he and his family may never have had much more time with Alex.

“But even if it was another day, or two days,” said Mr. Koehne. “And Lisa could have said goodbye to her son.”

Above: Jim and Lisa Koehne remember their son Alex with a foundation, Alex’s Promise, which raises money for brain cancer research. Last year they were able to donate $10,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.



Southampton Hospital Forms Alliance with Stony Brook

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Southampton Hospital forged an alliance on Friday that will bring to the small South Fork hospital many of the services of one of the most respected medical facilities between here and New York City. The agreement with Stony Brook University Hospital completes a series of recommendations from the state-mandated Beger  Report which, among other things, called for greater relationships between medical facilities to provide more comprehensive and cost-effective heath care for the residents of Long Island. In June, Southampton Hospital also fulfilled another one of the report’s recommendations, forming an alliance with the other two East End hospitals, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, creating the East End Health Alliance, an organization that gives the three institutions greater buying and negotiating power. That arrangement also allowed each of the three to develop specialties that would complement the specialties in the other hospitals. Southampton is the third of the local hospitals to form a relationship with Stony Brook.

This newest alliance with Stony Brook will bring yet more strength when it comes time to negotiate contracts such as insurance reimbursement, and provide greater scales of economy in purchasing supplies.

“During a hospital stay, a patient needs to be guaranteed good health care,” said Shirley Strum Kenny, president of Stony Brook University, during Friday morning’s signing ceremony at the Parrish Memorial Hall at Southampton Hospital. “To do that we have to ensure the health of our hospitals.”

But aside from the economic factors, officials say the alliance will bring easier access to a deeper well of health care options to residents of the East End.

“During the summer cocktail parties here, I always hear people say you have to travel to New York City to get good health care,” said Southampton Hospital President and CEO Robert S. Chaloner. “That’s not true. Our mission is to convince all our communities that they don’t have to travel; that good health care exists here.”

The alliance, said Chaloner, will provide several opportunities for the local hospital and its patients, including access to academic and professional capabilities Southampton currently does not have, and expertise in areas such as heart disease and stroke.

The agreement provides for a one-call hotline for transfer patients, and in the emerging field of Hospitalist services, Southampton and Stony Brook will share ideas and management practices with the goal of improving patient care, according to a release provided by the hospital. The two hospitals will participate in joint continuing medical education (CME) activities and explore the development of an overarching academic affiliation for Southampton with Stony Brook University’s Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Nursing, Social Welfare and Health Technology and Management. In addition, Stony Brook will provide an integration of quality monitoring and reporting as well as electronic patient record systems that will allow for enhancement of patient services. Finally, Stony Brook will sponsor Southampton Hospital as an Associate member of the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), providing access to a group purchasing program.

“Stony Brook will help us recruit doctors in a time when there is a physician shortage and it is difficult for them to survive here,” said Chaloner, “and will give us access to educational and training opportunities for our doctors.”

The alliance will also benefit Stony Brook, said Dr. Steven Strongwater, CEO of Stony Brook University Medical Center. His hospital has an expanding medical school class size and Southampton will provide an excellent opportunity for placing interns and students.

“Southampton Hospital has a great tradition in this community dating back to 1908 when it first opened, and we have great respect for the mission and traditions here,” said Dr. Strongwater. “We recognize the need to support that mission and find ways to get advanced services to those who need it—not to duplicate, but augment with training, education and recruitment. Southampton and Stony Brook are a perfect match for that.”

Stony Brook University Medical Center is the only academic medical center on Long Island. It comprises Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Stony Brook University Hospital, which is the only tertiary care hospital and Level 1 trauma center in Suffolk County. With 540 beds and 5,100 employees, it is the largest hospital in Suffolk County.            

“When the Berger Commission came in we were far ahead of what Berger wanted us to do,” said Senator Kenneth  P.  LaValle who sponsored the “Flexibility” legislation authorizing the East End alliance. “This alliance came together thanks to critical people with the right personalities and the right backgrounds to pull it together.  Building people, building strengths leads to one thing – better patient care.”


In photo above (l to r) Senator Kenneth P. La Valle, Shirley Strum Kenny, President Stony Brook University; Robert S. Chaloner, President and CEO Southampton Hospital; (back l to r) Martin L. Stone, MD., Southampton Hospital Board;   Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., CEO, Stony Brook University Medical Center; Reverend Peter M. Larsen, Southampton Hospital Board Chairman and Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, D.O., Commissioner, Health Services for Suffolk County