Quickly Putting Out the Fire: Patient Gets to Hospital Fast Thanks to Fire Island Clinic


The North Shore-LIJ Immediate Care Center in Cherry Grove helped get one patient having a heart attack to the care he needed.
The North Shore-LIJ Immediate Care Center in Cherry Grove helped get one patient having a heart attack to the care he needed at Southside Hospital.

BAY SHORE, NY – For Jim Wooten and his husband, last summer could have been the last time they vacationed together in Cherry Grove on Fire Island had it not been for the North Shore-LIJ Immediate Care Center.

Jim was experiencing chest pain and his husband, Eduardo, helped get him to the North Shore-LIJ Immediate Care Center.

“I was like clinging to the street signs along the walkway,” Jim said.

At the immediate care center, Cathy Morimando, NP, part of the cardiology department at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, recognized that he was having a heart attack and helped coordinate his quick trip to Southside to seek additional care.

Within about an hour of leaving the immediate care center, Jim was in recovery from having his artery opened with a stent in the cardiac catheterization lab at Southside.

Burak Arkonac, MD, director of Southside’s cardiac catheterization lab, performed the artery-opening procedure on Jim.

“Usually with heart attacks, time is muscle,” Dr. Arkonac said. “The sooner you stop the heart attack, the more heart muscle that you can salvage.”

Eduardo explained that what was a very worrisome time became less so because of the immediate care center.

“The combination of having the clinic there, the emergency professionals and the fact that there’s direct communication right away with the hospital made this whole ordeal a very efficient one,” he said. “I think that’s the presence of the clinic is really great here. It’s such a piece of mind to know that you have such a connection here… That’s one thing about being in an isolated place – you want to know that you’re not too far from getting good care.”

Jim is now back to enjoying many of the things he did before his heart attack, including being on Fire Island with his husband.

“One might say that saved my life,” Jim said, referring to the North Shore-LIJ Immediate Care Center. “Forty-seven hours later, we stepped off the ferry onto Cherry Grove. And because of how bad I looked leaving here… I think that people thought that they weren’t going to see me for a while, or ever. And I stepped off the boat walking just fine.”

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