Sun, Sand and a Double Dose of Immediate Care on Fire Island

Anthony Russo received immediate care at the Northwell Health Cherry Grove facility.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer, Northwell Health has doubled down on its commitment to the residents, workers and vacationers who frequent Fire Island. The health care provider now owns the immediate care center in Cherry Grove, Fire Island.

The Cherry Grove facility has been in operation since 2014, but the building was purchased by the health system earlier this year. It is staffed with emergency care professionals who treat walk-in patients daily. Northwell opened its first immediate care facility in the village of Ocean Beach in 2013.

Both Northwell Health Fire Island immediate care centers will be open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. They are staffed from 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.

“When people are in the vacation mind-set, thinking about health care is usually not a priority,” said Edward Fraser, vice president of community relations, Northwell Health 

“However, should a health care need, or an emergency situation occur on a barrier island, having access to quality health care is important. Northwell Health and Southside Hospital in partnership with local emergency medical services are committed and dedicated to ensure the health and well-being of everyone visiting and residing in the Fire Island communities we serve.” 

While the barrier island’s population swells during the summer, Northwell’s medical presence has been an important safety net for locals too. Anthony Russo, a chef at the popular Island Breeze restaurant, sought treatment at Northwell’s Cherry Grove clinic after experiencing a health crisis last summer.

“I was working in the kitchen in the morning. I started to lose feeling in my leg and my arm and my lip was numb. I thought I was having a stroke, so I went over to the urgent care here in Cherry Grove,” said Mr. Russo. “The physician’s assistant looked at me and told me I had to immediately get off the island and get to Southside Hospital.”

 Mr. Russo was brought to the dock, where a police boat sped him across the Great South Bay to a waiting ambulance. He was then rushed to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.

“When I got to Southside they told me I needed heart surgery,” said Mr. Russo. “Doctors at the hospital said that I had a mini stroke, but I didn’t have any permanent damage from that. I had the heart surgery and everything went well, and I’m back at work already.”

Mr. Russo is a resident of Breckinridge, Colorado, but works on Fire Island during the summer season. He says it’s hard to say what would have happened if the Northwell urgent care hadn’t been on the island.

“I think it would have been a bad situation if I hadn’t gotten checked,” he said.

Patients can call local emergency numbers when clinicians are not available. Police will direct patients to the appropriate medical care. The emergency number for the Cherry Grove center, located at 153 Doctor’s Walk, is: 631-597-6767. The emergency number for the Ocean Beach center, located at 504 Bayberry Walk, is 631-583-8548.

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 62,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and about 3,900 physicians, including more than 2,800 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Andrea Mineo
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