New cardiac and stroke treatment facility in Jamaica named in honor of local doctor

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Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

Local leaders cut the ribbon Wednesday afternoon on a new, state-of-the-art cardiac care facility at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

The Thomas Santucci Jr. MD Cardiovascular Interventional Suite covers 6,500 square feet of space within the hospital along the Van Wyck Expressway and includes two interventional labs, a six-bed recovery unit, a preparation area and viewing, treatment and examination rooms.

The health care space was named in honor of the late Dr. Thomas Santucci Jr., a cardiologist and former chairman of the Department of Medicine at Jamaica Hospital. He died earlier this year.

The facility is equipped with the latest technologies in cardiac and stroke care and will allow doctors to perform more complex and advanced procedures, according to Dr. Robert Mendelson, director of cardiology and chairman of the Department of Medicine.

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Doctors expect that admissions for cardiac-related disease will increase by 12 percent and for stroke admission by 11 percent within the next five years. This is due to a “significant prevalence” of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and other conditions in the surrounding area.

“We’ve been working on this for quite some time,” Jamaica Hospital President and CEO Bruce J. Flanz. “Over the last decade, the borough of Queens went from 15 hospitals to nine hospitals … There’s a tremendous volume of people who rely on us.”

Due to its proximity to JFK International Hospital, the facility is also the first in line to provide emergency cardiovascular care to travelers. Each year, ambulances transport approximately 2,500 people from JFK to the hospital.

The new facility is part of the center’s ongoing efforts to meet the growing needs of the borough’s population, Mendelson said.

Santucci’s family, who attended the ribbon cutting on July 25, described the late doctor as an “incredibly humble” man.

“His love was this hospital and his residents,” wife Carol Santucci said. “He was very proud of the care that is given here, the training that the residents received, and he loved to be here.”

“For us, it’s different to see this side of him and see the impact he made on all these people,” 17-year-old granddaughter Ashlin said. “We knew him as a loving grandfather; but to be here and see this is really incredible. He’s such a role model in our lives.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and state Senator Joseph Addabbo also attended the ribbon cutting.

“Thank you on behalf of the generations of families that this unit will save and provide for,” Katz said. “In a place where there is a void of medicine in many parts of the borough, Jamaica Hospital has picked up quite a bit of that slack.”

The new facility will be fully operational in August.

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