Message from L. Reuven Pasternak, MD

 

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    November 2012

    L. Reuven Pasternak, MDAs I write this note, the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt throughout our area. Despite considerable challenges, we are fortunate that Stony Brook fared well and maintained continuous operations — this is a credit to your dedication. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the physicians, nurses and staff whose efforts have allowed us to deliver uninterrupted care and to serve as a community resource, and to the team at the Command Center, led by Incident Commander Peg Duffy, MS, RN, Interim Chief Nursing Officer, and Liaison Officer Leo DeBobes, CSP, Assistant Administrator of Emergency Management and Regulatory Compliance, who did an outstanding job of staying on top of the storm’s progress and the issues facing the Hospital.

    I am extremely grateful to the more than 300 members of the Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) staff who have not been able to be with their families at home during portions of this experience and instead have stayed overnight so that we can remain prepared. Thank you also to those who continue to overcome severe obstacles to come in to work. Your dedication to our patients is an extraordinary and selfless act.

    We all appreciate the stress under which many of you have been operating as you continue to support your patients and colleagues. Normally, a week after such an event we would look at life having returned to normal. Thanks to your efforts, we have come through this able to address the needs of our patients; however, some of our friends and colleagues remain without power at home and many more now have to endure long lines and difficult commutes with the disruption of gasoline supplies. Although we were advised by outside sources early in the weekend that the fuel situation would abate by now, that has clearly not been the case, and we can understand the concern of all as we face the prospect of a lesser but nonetheless potentially significant storm this week.

    While restoration of electricity and fuel supplies may be beyond our ability to control, we nonetheless recognize that we should do all that we can to address your needs and to lessen the burdens under which you operate while fulfilling our mission to our patients. We of course continue to offer shelter with access to hot showers and food for those who need to stay on site due to issues of no power at home or lack of fuel for their cars. We have continually been working on remedies to the fuel shortage, including calls to local law enforcement and gas companies to gain improved access to the limited supplies. While a number of promising alternatives have been identified, they have not been able to assist with all of the needs for the immediate situation. Per other notices we will continue to work on our van services and possible expansion of this service if needed. We have also restocked to ensure that we have provisions for patients and staff in the event that we experience some similar disruptions this week. It is projected that the storm arriving this morning will have much less intensity than what we experienced last week. Nonetheless, we take it seriously and will remain prepared to assist.

    Members of the SBUH community have been asking what they can do and how they can contribute to help colleagues and their families. The Hardship Fund was established by Stony Brook for the purpose of helping University and Research Foundation staff who experience a personal financial emergency. We will be providing assistance to those seeking access to these funds and will provide ways for staff to contribute to build up its reserves and enhance its ability to give. Other suggestions that we are acting on include a Hurricane Relief Drive for Stony Brook staff, which will be held Monday through Friday, 7 am-8 pm, until November 16. Donations of clean, gently used clothing, blankets and nonperishable foods will be accepted in the Market Place Café’s Club Room (located between the Café and Skyline Deli). Those who are in need of assistance through this drive should contact Heidi Campani at 444-6440.

    It is a privilege to be part of a team for whom giving is clearly so important in so many ways. Again, my heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who are working so diligently to ensure the safety of our patients in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. To each of you, I wish you a quick return to normalcy, especially to those members of our Stony Brook family who suffered damage to their home or property, and other hardships as a result of the storm.

    L. Reuven Pasternak, MD
    Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Hospital
    Vice President for Health Systems, Stony Brook Medicine