November 23, 2020 – Even the COVID-19 pandemic could not slow the show of support for Richmond University Medical Center which has served Staten Island for over 115 years. The hospital held its annual gala, virtually, on the evening of November 19. The two hour event raised more than $250,000 for the construction of the hospital’s new emergency department, which will open in the spring of 2022.
“On behalf of everyone at RUMC, I want to thank the many people in our community who continue to support us. RUMC has been and always will be your community hospital,” president and chief executive officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE, said. “Our new emergency department will provide Staten Island with the most advanced emergency care available, and we are forever grateful to everyone who has helped to make this new ED a reality.
The event was held live on location at RUMC, in Dr. Messina’s office and also featured a series of taped segments highlighting this year’s honorees: the entire medical staff of RUMC which has treated over 1,400 COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began in March of this year. Members of the hospital’s senior administration, board of trustees, and Richmond University Medical Center Foundation expressed their appreciation and admiration for the physicians, nurses, and entire staff who risked their lives in service to others.
“I was so proud to see our team work as a unit – administration, medical staff, residents, nurses, nurses’ aides, respiratory therapists, MAs, clerks, transporters, case managers, laboratory techs, environmental services, the list goes on and on,” chair of medicine and endocrinology, Philip Otterbeck, MD, said. “Each showed compassion, dedication, and resilience. During the pandemic, our hospital faced tough days. We lost friends, family members, and cherished members of our own team. Those days were exhausting, physically and emotionally. Indeed, while our fellow citizens did their part and moved into social isolation, our team did our part, and came together as one to care for our community. “
RUMC admitted its first COVID-19 patient on March 14 and reached what would be its peak of inpatients with the virus, 210 individuals, just three weeks later on April 8. Since the spring, the hospital has maintained low COVID-19 inpatient numbers but has seen a steady number of residents testing positive for the virus. RUMC has also continued to support COVID-19 patients in their recovery through its Post COVID-19 Care Center, located on the hospital campus. The center opened in June of this year, and features experts in pulmonary care, cardiology, infectious disease, psychiatry, behavioral health, physiatry and additional areas of healthcare. Over 100 patients have been cared for at the center since it opened.
In addition to the taped segments, the gala paid homage to those lost in the RUMC family this year, such as Richmond University Medical Center Foundation Treasurer Lucille Chazanoff, and three staff members lost to the COVID-19 virus, William Langley, Mary Ellen Porter, and Margaret Venditti.
RUMC’s new 35,000 square foot, two-story emergency department will open in spring 2022. When completed, the new emergency department will feature private treatment rooms, trauma bays, and comprehensive specialty areas for pediatrics and urgent care on the ground floor. The second floor will be used to upgrade the hospital’s surgical unit and increase space for additional services. The current emergency department, constructed in 1978, is 15,000 square feet and built to service around 30,000 emergency care patents annually. Today, as a Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, RUMC averages about 65,000 patients coming to its emergency department for care annually.
This past October, the hospital hosted a beam signing ceremony to celebrate the hospital achieving its capital campaign goal of securing $13 million in private funds to support construction of the new ED. In addition to the support raised from the private campaign, over $42 million in grants was also secured from New York City and New York State over a three year period from 2016 to 2018. Construction has been underway throughout the year, with the foundation being laid, retaining walls taking shape, and drywells being installed. Throughout construction, the current emergency department has remained open offering full emergency services and will remain open 24/7 throughout construction.
The virtual gala concluded with a toast to the community and the hope that next year’s gala will once again be held in person.