Patient Letters

Care with compassion at North Shore University Hospital

April 22, 2014
Dear Mr. Dowling,

As I write this, my father, Joseph Miceli, is being cared for at North Shore University Hospital, in the Cohen Pavilion, Room 267, and is expected to be released tomorrow. He’d been admitted to Emergency on the evening of April 17th, due to breathing issues stemming from COPD and lung cancer, for which he is being treated…. In Emergency, an angel by the name of Sue did everything in her power to demonstrate what it is to care and show compassion for her charges. Then, upon my father’s transfer to his current room, Dr. Stark, Kathleen, Katrina, Catherine, and all of the other nurses and attending physicians and therapists – more “angels,”--dispensed love and tenderness, the best medicine.

I’d traveled to New York this past weekend to spend Easter with my family, and under normal circumstances, my mother, Celesta Miceli, and I would usually attend Good Friday services at a local parish. But this year saw us spending many hours under your roof – where we witnessed what it truly means to care for the sick. We were humbled by every staff member’s high energy level, cheerfulness and responsiveness.

Your leadership is clearly doing something right, and I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you so. I work for a Catholic relief and development ministry which supports the poor in more than 20 countries through the developing world – and the level of care being given at North Shore is “heaven sent.” May God continue to bless all of you – and I hope that you will share our gratitude with those personnel that I’ve mentioned.

Joanne Miceli-Bogash
Celesta Miceli

Reinventing the hospital stay at Lenox Hill Hospital

Dear Mr. Dowling:

I am writing to congratulate you for your vision and foresight in hiring Dr. Samadi to head The Lenox Hill Hospital Prostate Cancer Center. I recently had the good fortune to be one of Dr. Samadi’s patients…, and the quality of care I received at your hospital was beyond anything I ever expected. What did I find so amazing?

I have had a fear of hospitals since my father died of prostate cancer in 1979 at the age of 52, so as my wife and I drew up to Lenox Hill Hospital at 5:30 a.m., I braced myself for a familiar hospital experience. What a surprise! The concierge service warmly met us at the front door and took us straight to my room where I relaxed on the sofa as we completed all the paperwork. Where was that dreaded hospital smell? It is possible to have a hospital without it. Thank you!

The atmosphere on the floor was tremendous. It felt like a cocoon of safety and caring. Firstly, the nursing staff: what a fantastic team! They all worked together well, they liked each other, they obviously enjoyed their work; I believe that this directly affected the standard of care I received which was simply second to none. They were responsive, friendly, knowledgeable and extremely professional. My wife recently had surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery and we thought at the time their service was very good. And it was very good, but it paled in comparison to the care we received on ‘5 Wollman’ at your hospital.

Then, of course, there was the actual wing itself. The décor was so relaxing and the rooms were inviting; it was so far removed from everything I had thought of as a hospital. The layout of the rooms and the fact that all patients on the floor were Dr. Samadi’s patients led to a camaraderie among us as we exchanged stories strolling up and down the corridor… The ability to have my wife stay in the room with me was emotionally beneficial for both of us, and physically beneficial to me as well, as she was able to help me get out of bed that night to walk. It was so easy to forget that you were in a large hospital fighting a dreaded cancer as the care was so compassionate and personal. Congratulations on breaking the mold!

The trip to the operating room brought me in contact with more of your staff. Everyone was extremely friendly, kind and professional. I truly felt that I had an entire team of medical professionals fighting right along with me. It was wonderful to feel reassured at every turn that I had made the right decision in choosing Dr. Samadi and The Lenox Hill Hospital Prostate Cancer Center.

It almost goes without saying that Dr. Samadi’s skill is tremendous. After the operation as my recovery sped along, my respect for Dr. Samadi grew every day. I was up and feeling great 4 hours after the procedure. I congratulate you on building such a wonderful patient experience. It turned a stressful and worrying time in my life into a memorable occasion, and one that I love sharing with my friends. As far as I am concerned there is one game in town for prostate cancer treatment – The Lenox Hill Hospital Prostate Cancer Center under the leadership of Dr. Samadi.

I feel humbled to have been fortunate enough to receive such skilled and compassionate care, and at the age of 51, I have the privilege of looking forward to living a long and full life. Thank you for dramatically improving patient care in prostate cancer treatment.

Yours sincerely,
Robert H

How teamwork enhances patient care at Lenox Hill Hospital

March 3, 2014

Mr. Dennis Connors
Executive Director
Lenox Hill Hospital
130 East 77th Street
New York, NY 10075

Dear Dennis,
Following three experiences at Lenox Hill Hospital and Dr. Dennis Kraus’ office, I felt compelled to recognize the incredible service and care my father and, by extension, my family received. Maintaining the ability to provide both world-class experts, like Dr. Kraus, while also attending to even the most subtle details of patient service is truly remarkable. It is clear to me that Dr. Kraus not only brings his incredible expertise to Lenox Hill, but he also operates an exceedingly well organized practice. The combination of these two things adds dramatically to patient confidence. Simply put, with Dr. Kraus and the Lenox Hill team, I believe that my father received the absolute finest care in the most comfortable environment available anywhere.

Regarding our experience on surgery day at Lenox Hill, the quality of our experience began with the cheerful parking valets and extended throughout our visit. Reception was attentive and professional. My father was taken respectfully for his pre-surgical screening and preparation. The attending nurses were comprehensive, proficient and friendly while both Dr. Kraus and Dr. Alfano arrived to discuss anesthesia and the surgery. It was clear that both physicians worked well as a team, adding to our comfort. Surgical preparation was efficient and the pre-op suite was in immaculate condition. Following his procedure, my father was ready for a safe discharge with an extraordinary surgical outcome. Dr. Kraus again made himself available to discuss the procedure and follow-up plan. The circle was closed with the valets having our car immediately available.

Our follow-up appointment today was highly encouraging. We arrived well ahead of our appointed time and we were quickly and unexpectedly accommodated. Following Dr. Kraus’ examination, Dr. Banuchi remained with us for suture removal and lent her expertise in a generous Q&A session. As a retired internist, my father tends to have an endless list of questions and we were grateful for Dr. Banuchi’s patience.

Thank you and your team for the remarkable care and experience my father received at a challenging point in his life. It is difficult to express the importance of the great confidence Dr. Kraus and the team at Lenox Hill imparted to our family throughout the process. We were blessed to be in the right place!

Peter J. Hoffman

Compassionate care in the ER at Plainview Hospital

January 9, 2014
Dear Mr. Dowling,

First, I would like to apologize for not using the proper chain of command in regard to whom I should address this letter. I was not sure if this letter of commendation would reach you, so I decided to send it directly to you.

As an RN at Syosset Hospital, I am aware of the EMS Ambulance program. Please know that this is one of the best programs in the system. The phone number is ingrained in my brain and also the ambulance magnet is on every one of my relatives’ refrigerator! My family has used this service several times already.

Last Sunday, 1/5/14, I needed to call an ambulance for my elderly Dad. The EMS team promptly arrived and took my Dad to Syosset Hospital at my request. Upon arrival there (I arrived first), I quickly found out that Syosset was on a HEICS level 1. The ambulance (upon my agreement) was diverted to Plainview Hospital. Upon arriving at Plainview, I quickly realized that this was not a better situation. The ER was filled with people waiting and patients. I am well aware of the meaning of triage, so I truly didn’t mind the wait. The true purpose of this letter is to tell you what I observed during my time spent in the ER that night.

The ER was extremely busy, personnel hustling to take care of everyone. What impressed me the most was that NOT one employee showed how much stress they were feeling. The staff was pleasant, smiling, and caring to the patients! The first words from the ER physician when he spoke to my dad were an apology for the long wait!

From the moment I walked through the door, the security guards, admitting personnel, environmental staff, aides, EKG & X-ray techs, RNs and the MDs all were so truly accommodating. I observed FANTASTIC TEAM WORK among all of them. It was truly a great team of professional personnel that evening. The number of patients was unrelenting. I am hoping that the staff that day was rewarded in some way, because this was an extremely difficult volume to keep up with.

My only regret is that I didn’t write down all of the employees’ names that I came into contact with. I only remember two names, Shannon, an RN, took care of my Dad, and I observed Brooke, also an RN, being so kind and gentle to an elderly gentleman who was with his sick wife.
As I previously stated, I am an RN and I know what good, compassionate, quality care is, and I definitely witnessed great care that day!

Kudos to the staff.

Karen LoCasto

A supportive environment at North Shore University Hospital

June 1, 2014
Dear Sir-
I was released from NSUH-LIJ in the early afternoon of Sunday 06/01/14. Upon my return home I felt obliged to immediately write to you about the amazing experience (if one can ever truly consider an urgent and unexpected hospitalization with back surgery “amazing”) I had at your institution under the care of the finest people I could imagine. I wanted to write this letter as the details were still relatively fresh in my mind. While I do mention certain individuals by name that is not intended to diminish the overall excellent care received from all – as described below.

My sojourn started off Memorial Day weekend when I essentially blew out my back and lost some critical right foot motor function. A neurologist, Dr. Gary Kaplan, reviewed some preliminary MRI’s of my lumbar spine. Because of underlying neurological issues and a manifest motor insult, Dr. Kaplan recommended that my wife and I leave his office and go straight to the ER at NSUH for evaluation for surgery by the neurosurgical or orthopedic services. He gently explained that time was important and that conservative treatment was not going to do it for me. I was admitted on 05/08/14 at about 6 PM. 
In the ER I was evaluated by Dr. Huish, and the orthopedic services accepted my case. Dr. Huish was thorough, patient and considerate in his efforts on my behalf.

The gentlemen in radiology were gentle with me moving me from table to stretcher without inflicting pain. The late night MRI tech “Billy” (last name unknown) took his time to adjust me to the… MRI equipment and kept me focused and calm.

I thereafter came under the care of Dr. David Essig. I had never met this man before in my life – and was not a prior patient of his – and he was about to open my spine for a laminectomy/discectomy. He is a confidence-inspiring and thoughtful surgeon. After reviewing my chart and films he recommended a full-open type of procedure. It is a testament to his and his team’s skill (assisted at surgery by Dr. Lee) that I woke from surgery having veritably no pain – especially as compared to the debilitating and incessant pain that I endured for 3 to 4 days before admission. Despite the relatively extensive nature of the surgery – at least as far as I was concerned – post-op I had zero pain. While the surgeons resolved my immediate problem, your Nursing staff – in fact everyone on 7 Tower – including Wayne Albanese, RN, who cared for me even after he was assigned to other patients; Kasey Wagner, RN; Denise (last name unknown), RN; Lesley Rossi, RN; and Karim Smith, PCA, all got me up walking and moving, and helped to keep my spirits up thereby getting me swiftly back on the road to recovery.

I also saw how they interacted with patients who had infinitely more complicated and difficult conditions – how they cared for the elderly and infirm, including patients with psychological issues – always preserving the patients’ dignity – even in clearly trying circumstances.

These days the papers, pundits and politicians all rail about health care – but from my experience they could probably learn how to run things better themselves if they followed whatever rule book you guys play by – because to my mind here’s the most interesting part. Everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity and/or religious belief, pulled together and worked as a team – everyone was polite, respectful and happy to help. I don’t just mean falsely polite – I mean sincere genuine care both for their co-workers and patients. The cleaning guys, Evillio (last name unknown), the food service guy on 7, Delroy from patient transport, all took good care of me – offering words of encouragement as I did my laps around the floor. Your employees are interacting with patients and family who are experiencing the full range of human experience and emotion – the joy of a new child, the death of a loved one – and everything in between; and they conducted themselves with the clear focus of maintaining a positive and supportive environment. I hope you convey to all your employees what a difference they can and do make in the lives of those they touch. The rest of the world could learn from the amazing microcosm they have created.

While I am certainly glad to be home, I wanted to express my thanks to all I have mentioned. As noted at the outset, I apologize for not being able to recall by name all those who were instrumental in my speedy recovery; their efforts are no less worthy of mention.

In fact, I will probably even be glad to pay the deductible.

Bruce M. Young

Extraordinary care at Long Island Jewish Medical Center

January 18, 2014
Dear Mr. Dowling,
I am sure you would not remember me from a letter I wrote you in February 2012. At that time I had just gone through open heart surgery and wanted to express my gratitude and greatest thanks to all of the staff with a few individuals personally named who I wanted extra mention for their outstanding work ethic and performance of their duties.

I am writing to you again for the same reason but for different circumstances.
On January 5, 2014 at about 6:30 pm, my mother (Harriet Jacoby) was brought to the L.I.J. emergency room by ambulance for having “shortness of breath.” She was 90 years old with lung cancer and arterial stenosis along with other medical conditions. On Tuesday, January 7th, my mother died. As difficult and as sad as it was to watch my own mother pass, it was the way your staff performed that is the basis of this letter. All of the people who work at your facility are trained professionals, but compassion and humanity cannot be taught in a school. Deborah Ellerton and Patricia Cabache are two people who exemplified these qualities. Both of these women made my mother’s last few hours here on earth comfortable and pain free. They respected her and showed such compassion to both of us. I will always be so grateful to your “care givers” who work so selflessly to help others.

Thank you again, sincerely,
Geoffrey Jacob

Supporting healing at North Shore University Hospital

March 27, 2014
Dear Mr. Michael Dowling:

My name is Anat Greenberg. I had a brain aneurysm that hemorrhaged and was in critical condition. I was brought to North Shore University Hospital where on October 7, 2013, Dr. David Chalif performed neurosurgery to clip my Posterior Communicating artery. Dr. Chalif is an exceptional, skillful physician, who was able to save my life. He is not only an expert in his field, but a compassionate professional who cares about his patients, making sure that they have the best follow up and support for their recovery. In addition, Dr. Chalif was always there for my family, making sure they understood my condition, and going out of his way to address any questions, concerns and apprehensions they had. Due to the aneurysm, I was paralyzed on my left side. Dr. Chalif has motivated my family and myself to get me moving and walking to help me regain my functions. Dr. Chalif has also played a very big role in encouraging me to move forward in my rehabilitation, so I went to Glen Cove hospital and Transitions to help me get back on my feet. I want to take this moment to thank Dr. Chalif. Because of him, I am no longer paralyzed.

Dr. Chalif has also encouraged me to join the monthly Aneurysm Support Group, in order to receive emotional support, and to meet people who had undergone similar experiences. I have participated in several meetings that were very informative and inspiring. Many of the participants of the Aneurysm Support Group were operated on by Dr. Chalif as well. They all praise him and have admitted that their lives were saved by him.

The Aneurysm Support Group is an excellent framework where people like me can express their concerns, ask questions, understand their prognosis, and be educated by experts on a variety of important topics. It does motivate me to work even harder in rehab, and I believe that my full recovery will happen soon.

I believe that Dr. Chalif should be acknowledged for his supportive and compassionate way of assisting his patients’ healing process. I hope that Dr. Chalif’s dream of establishing a building to help people with Aneurysm does come true. North Shore University Hospital is privileged to have Dr. Chalif

If I could be of any help to support Dr. Chalif’s work, and the hospital’s effort to develop the Aneurysm Department, please contact me.

Best Regards,
Anat Greenberg

Dedicated caregivers at North Shore University Hospital

Dear Ms. Ross,

On Wednesday, June 18, 2014, our 95 years young dad, Edward J. Sullivan, was admitted to the 9th Floor Monti Pavilion (Room 919). Having suffered a fall whereby he fractured his hip and highly compromised his already compromised left knee, we (his daughters and sons) were exceptionally concerned about his physical and mental well-being. Despite his 95 years, this disabled WWII vet, is one tough, determined, disciplined, athletic, alert, intelligent patient, who was determined to fight the good fight as he has done many times in the past. Six years prior (at the youthful age of 89) Ed was also admitted to your hospital when he endured a catastrophic fall down two flights of stairs and suffered a complete fracture of his right femur requiring extensive reconstruction surgery as well as a (3rd) total knee replacement.

Suffice it to say, between this most recent health emergency as well as North Shore Monti Pavilion being the same place where our beloved mom had passed (Thanksgiving Day ’06), a return visit anytime soon was far from the top of his/our “Wish List.”

However, the reason for this note (and I speak on behalf of our father and siblings) is to express our SINCERE GRATITUDE to the many individuals who so generously, lovingly, and passionately provided service, care, attention, expertise, experience and humanity to this man. From the moment he arrived to Room 919 at 3 am and was met/initially cared for by Nurse Grace (perfectly named is she!), through to his surgery four days later w/ Dr. Mostafavi (which enabled him to “graduate” from the hospital Monday, June 23rd) , that 7-day experience on 9th Floor Monti and the love, support and friendship he received was exceptional.

From the many truly wonderful nurses (including but not limited to: Sherry, Milto, Grace, Nancy, Lisa, Regina, Miramosa among others) who tended to his physical as well as emotional needs, to the PCAs, CSAs, SCAs, Technicians, PTs, Dietary, Social Services (including but not limited to: Molly, R. Salazar, Nellie, Spai, Dee, Blair, Jenine, Frances, as well as Coordinator Guest Services, Janet Strugats and MANY others on 9th Floor Monti), each and every one, no matter their “job title” deserves recognition and praise for their tireless efforts, attitude, work ethic, patience and ability to interact with compassion and sense of urgency, not only to this patient, but to the family. And in our father’s case, that includes his own nine children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 
I apologize to those wonderful persons who also provided loving support and care, but I unfortunately did not recall all their names – but they too ought to be recognized, as their talent and assistance to this man helped give him a LIFE, one he may not have had otherwise.

I would be remiss if not to add special mention of one extraordinary 9th Floor Monti employee: Mr. Stephen Dean aka: SUPERMAN. Although Steve’s Superman moniker was earned after nearly losing his own life by “flying” through a window to save another’s life, to our dad Ed and to our Sullivan family, Steve Dean is someone we now consider to be family, and someone none of us will ever forget. Steve is a man of high integrity, great physical strength and experienced in “how” to care for another. But equally important, Steve is experienced in life, experienced in providing a balm to the body and nourishment to the soul. He is compassionate, intelligent, humble, proud, courageous … and funny as hell. His sense of humor in the face of some not-so-funny in-hospital situations can make a grown man weep (in tears of joy), and THAT is the secret to healing and to living a whole life. What a gift Steve Dean is to all who pass through the floors of NSUH.

To all the dedicated caregivers who bring their skills and compassion to 9th Floor Monti, suffice it to say a great big THANK YOU from Edward J. Sullivan (Ed Sullivan) and his family. As Mother Theresa said: “We can do no great things – only small things with great love.”

Warm regards,
Bridget Sullivan

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