BY SARA GILBERT
Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Suffern celebrated the groundbreaking for its new Emergency Department on Tuesday, June 19 with a cocktail hour, ceremonial breaking of ground and tour of the department.
The current emergency department, designed almost 25 years ago to accommodate 19,500 patients annually, desperately needed renovations. Last year, the department treated more than 35,000 patients and in 2017 it is projected to treat about 52,000.
According to Bon Secours Charity Health System CEO Philip Patterson, it is “undeniable” that the hospital needs a renovation. “We are already over capacity… and we know our community continues to grow,” he said.
The hospital is planning a several phase expansion, which will ultimately result in tripling the size of the current space. The hope is, according to Patterson, to have the project complete by January 2013.
To start with, the hospital will create 13 new bays, for a total of 32. Over the next decade, it will bring the total patient bays to 50. At the same time, the hospital will install new imaging and diagnostic technology to provide testing in the Emergency Department, saving time and hassle.
“As technology improves and procedures become less invasive – and recovery time shortens dramatically – the need for state-of-the-art outpatient services is vital,” said Patterson. “We thank you all for helping this come true.”
The co-chairs of the campaign, Daniel Rifkin and Pierson Mapes, both have personal reasons for pushing the project ahead.
“It’s truly a transformative investment in our community,” said Rifkin. “As a father and husband, I know how important it is to have an emergency department.”
Mapes had a terrifying experience eight years ago, when his wife suffered a level four aneurism.
She had been cutting flowers in the garden and came in with an awful headache, he said. Within a minute she was down. “You usually don’t survive,” he said. “But she was operated on immediately at Good Sam and she survived.”
Mapes and his gratitude are on board to improve what he called a hospital that’s “already on a great path.”
The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off with Peggie Telscher, chairwoman of Good Samaritan Foundation, who compared the event of breaking ground with that of renewal and life-cycle changes.
“When a body is buried in the earth we move ground and the body prepares for its next stage,” she said. “We also move ground to prepare the earth for renewed birth of plants. Today is the last day of spring and the beginning of summer, a fitting time to be moving the ground and preparing for new growth for a new and better future.”
In closing, Sister Mary Louise Moran, president of Good Samaritan Foundation, quoted Abraham Heschel, saying, “Creation, we are taught, is not an act that happened once upon a time, once and forever. The act of bringing the world into existence is a continuous process. God called the world into being, and that call goes on. There is this present moment because God is present. Every instant is an act of creation. A moment is not a terminal but a flash, a signal of Beginning.”
Moran continued, “This act of creation is made possible by God and the herculean effort by the Foundation. It is a signal of beginning, a new day for Good Samaritan and the people we serve.”
Groups were then invited up to shovel some of the ground where the new emergency department will be built and then take a tour through the work that had already been done.
In the photo, from left: Fred Kelly, Chairman of the Board, Bon Secours Charity Health System; Jack Holt, Holt Construction and Good Samaritan Foundation Board of Directors; Dan Rifkin, Bon Secours Charity Board of Directors and co-chair, the Campaign for Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center; Peggie Telscher, chairwoman, Good Samaritan Foundation; Sister Mary Louise Moran, S.C., president, Good Samaritan Foundation; Pierson Mapes, Good Samaritan Foundation Board of Directors and co-chair, the Campaign for Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center; Philip Patterson, CEO, Bon Secours Charity Health System