Since 2001, when Eastern Long Island Hospital first opened its small ambulatory surgery unit in the hospital’s lower level, the number of outpatient surgeries have grown 200 percent, according to Tom Murray, chairman of the hospital’s Board of Trustees.
And that’s a million miles from where that section of the hospital was in 1998, when only about 600 people checked in for surgery that year. But it’s because of this dramatic increase that representatives of the Greenport hospital cut the ribbon on Monday afternoon to a spacious new ambulatory care pavilion, which features nine pre-op and post-op surgical bays, wall mounted digital TVs, private locker rooms, an extended nurses station with a spacious reception and waiting area with sweeping views of Stirling Harbor.
With over 4,500 square feet of space, the facility is one of the largest expansions in the hospital’s 107-year history.
“As they say, it takes a village, and we definitely have a great team here,” Murray said at the ceremony, which drew the likes of Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, State Sen. Ken LaValle, Greenport Mayor David Nyce and several staff members of Eastern Long Island Hospital.
The new wing of the hospital is dedicated to Dr. Frank Adipietro, the doctor who was key in building up the business of outpatient surgery at the small hospital and someone who built himself up to become a sought-after pain management specialist in the region.
“The dedication that Dr. Frank has put into this project, the time and effort and care he has shown toward his patients — I don’t even have words to describe it,” Murray said. “With the thousands of people he has helped relieve their pain, this dedication is more than deserving.”
The new surgery center can accommodate 11 patients at a time rather than the two at a time the old center could handle. Dr. Adipietro said at the ceremony that when he first joined the staff as an anesthesiologist in 1998, board members were considering shutting down the operating room completely due to lack of business.
“Talk about job security for me,” he said. “This was no way to start out."
Dr. Adipietro said that early on, Dr. Micah Kaplan, a Greenport internist, asked him if he’d perform a pain management procedure on a patient that needed it, since Dr. Adipietro had some training in the field. He hesitated but eventually started performing the procedures, and that was the beginning of the pain center at Eastern Long Island Hospital.
“I had people around me who saw a guy with some training and sort of pushed me along,” he said. “And I look into new treatments every day now. I don’t want to miss a single one if it will help a patient.”