Photo credit: St. John's Episcopal Hospital
Left to Right: Michael Luyckx, Director of Imaging, Cardiology and Transport; Michelle Burchette, Lead Mammography Technologist; Dr. Michael Tartell, Chairman of Imaging

Saint John’s Episcopal Hospital (SJEH) has made great strides in women’s health screenings and radiology, thanks to new hospital leadership combined with renovations and advanced technology.

SJEH became the sole hospital in the Rockaways following Peninsula Hospital’s closure in 2012. Hospital administration and staff have worked to provide the best in women’s health in an area with some of the highest breast cancer levels in the borough.

According to Michael Luyckx, Administrative Director of Imaging Services, the hospital is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment in the mammography, obstetrics and gynecology, and ultrasound departments.

Luyckx said that SJEH performs approximately 4,217 mammograms using all digital technology by General Electric. Digital mammograms offer several benefits including clearer images, lower levels of radiation and the ability to electronically store images allowing for more close up views. The better quality images allows for an earlier detection of breast cancer.

“It’s key to pick up breast cancer in the earliest stages,” Luyckx said.

Planning has begun for the construction of a new women’s comprehensive health center on 105th Street. The hospital was awarded a $3,117,930 grant by the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) that will go toward the health center.

Future services will include the following:

  • Routine and sub-specialty gynecological and obstetrical services
  • Maternal fetal medicine for complicated or high-risk pregnancies
  • Urogynecologic
  • Cancer screening
  • Breast surgery
  • Behavioral health
  • Nutrition service
  • Ultrasound, mammography, bone density provided with on-site lab services

In addition to top-of-the-line women’s health screenings, SJEH also offers radiology imaging. In the updated emergency department is an advanced computerized tomography (CT) scanner and state-of-the-art X-ray equipment.

Luyckx said the hospital’s 64-slice CT scanner allows for “extremely fast” imaging — anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds. SJEH can use the scanner for cardiac imaging including a coronary CT calcium scan and coronary angiography. A benefit to having the CT scanner in the emergency department is expedited care. The accessibility of this machine is important because every second counts in an emergency situation.

SJEH was also awarded a $3,955,000 grant by the NYS DOH for a new radiation and oncology center that will be built across the street from the hospital’s main entrance. The 3,850-square-foot center will have exam rooms, consultation rooms, patient dressing rooms and more.

The new center will also include the Rockaways’ only linear accelerator — a machine that customizes high energy X-rays or electrons to conform to a tumor’s shape and destroys cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

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