Suffolk Co. Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center Fund Acknowledges Staff, Celebrates Patients
Burn Center Recognition Day shows appreciation for staff, community, and supporters
STONY BROOK, NY, May 21, 2014 - The members of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center Fund honored the hard work, skill and devotion of the staff of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook Medicine at the Annual Burn Center Recognition Day on May 18. The day also celebrated and acknowledged the patients who were treated at the Center and so bravely overcame their life-altering injuries.
“Since the beginning of the burn center more than 30 years ago, it has been a community effort and has taken much collaboration among our elected officials, volunteer firefighters, the late Dr. Harry Soroff, Dr. Steven Sandoval, members of the Stony Brook leadership team along with faculty and staff to get to where we are today,” said L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Hospital, and Vice President for Health Systems, Stony Brook Medicine.
“As part of Burn Recognition Day it gives me great pleasure to thank our nursing staff for their dedication, skills and most of all compassion for our patients and families,” said Pasternak. “It is their compassionate care that keeps the spirits of our patients lifted, even when facing the complex, and sometimes painful challenges of burn wounds.”
The Burn Nurse of the Year award was presented to Shanelle Farquharson, RN, Stony Brook University Hospital, a dedicated nurse with over five years of experience, who has worked at the Burn Center since the beginning of her nursing career. “Shanelle Farquharson has a passion for nursing and caring for her patients,” said Desiree Fedrich, MS, RN, Nurse Manager, Stony Brook University Hospital, Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center. “Her holistic approach is one that is appreciated by her patients and colleagues. The genuine care Ms. Farquharson provides to her patients is unsurpassed. She is truly a valued part of the Burn Center Team.”
Jean Thomas, Nursing Station Clerk, Stony Brook University Hospital, who has been with the Burn Center for more than nine years, was named Ancillary Staff of the Year. “Ms. Thomas was the heart and soul of our Burn Center relocation earlier this year, she assured everything had a place and that it was the right place,” Fedrich said. “Ms. Thomas enhances the patient experience with her cheerful demeanor and her colleagues always look forward to the start of her shift. Ms. Thomas eagerly participates in community outreach helping with the Hazard House, Spark the Fire Dog and actively volunteers at events to support the Burn Center.”
Kathleen Grant, MS, OTR/L, Assistant Director Occupational Therapy, Stony Brook University Hospital, received Care Provider of the Year. The award is given in honor of Guy Cassera, a Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant at the Burn Center who passed away six years ago. “Ms. Grant has been a valued employee of Stony Brook Hospital for many years,” Fedrich said. “Ms. Grant is our go-to OT for all of our burn patients. She provides our patients with the utmost special care, ensuring the best chance at optimal functioning post injury. ”
Kevin Peterson of St. James, a member of the St. James Fire Department and a Fire Marshal with the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, received the Robert Lyons Award, which is given to community members in recognition of their selfless contribution to the Burn Center. “Kevin gives so much to the community, whether it’s planning the annual golf outing, making ‘boo-boo bears’ with his children to give out to pediatric burn patients or visiting fellow firefighters in the hospital,” said John Lussa, President of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters. “He is a great asset to the organization. We were honored to give him this award.”
Marcia Simon, PhD, Director of the Living Skin Bank, spoke about short- and long-term burn therapies. Steven Sandoval, MD, Medical Director of the Burn Center, discussed current burn research.
In addition, numerous organizations and individuals were acknowledged for their ongoing support and contributions to the Burn Center. New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) thanked the volunteer firefighters and the Burn Center staff for their commitment to caring for burn patients throughout Suffolk County.
“I am honored to take part in recognizing the incredible staff of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center, who dedicate their time to caring for many of our county’s bravest,” said Senator Ken LaValle. “The Burn Center has proven to be an invaluable facility for the treatment of burn injuries throughout Suffolk County.”
In 1978, the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center Fund (SCVFBCF) formed to support their mission of helping burn victims, both civilians and firefighters, through research, education, leadership, prevention, and funding. Over the years they have purchased specialized equipment, specialized beds and burn garments, and supported rehabilitation with programs and equipment at Stony Brook University Hospital. They also support special clinical and research initiatives, and aid in community educational seminars.
“Overall, Burn Center Recognition Day was a fantastic day,” Lussa said. “It’s was a great opportunity to recognize the people who support us throughout the year.”
As the only designated burn care facility for the more than 1.5 million residents of Suffolk County, the Burn Center coordinates burn services throughout the county, and conducts training and research in burn care. The Burn Center also serves as a resource to neighboring community-based hospitals. Patients of all ages – from infants through geriatrics – are treated at the Burn Center.
Due to the hard work and generosity of the SCVFBCF, a recent million dollar expansion has increased the center’s size and created an enhanced environment for patient care. In January 2014, The Burn Center was relocated from the 4th floor of Stony Brook University Hospital to the 8th floor – giving patients brighter, more spacious private rooms with great views of Long Island and peaceful art work provided by Splashes of Hope. Each patient room will now also include accommodations overnight visitors who wish to stay with their loved-ones.
“This project was one that was near and dear to my heart in part because of all the support we have received from the Firefighters over the years and the passion and persistence of the Burn Center Medical Director, Dr. Steve Sandoval,” said Carol Gomes, MS, FACHE, CPHQ, Chief Operating Officer, Stony Brook University Hospital. “Our new Burn Center, would not be possible without the long standing partnership between The Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center Fund and Stony Brook Medicine. For this we are very grateful.”
“The New Center is a great milestone for us,” said Lussa, “it was a dream that now became a reality, and we are so proud of it.” The new Burn Center was named to honor these volunteer firefighters, in recognition and thanks for their support.
Desiree Fedrich, RN, Nurse Manager at the Burn Center (pictured right) presented Shanelle Farquharson, RN, Stony Brook University Hospital, with the Burn Nurse of the Year award