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PBMC seeks construction tweaks in response to new trauma designation

Peconic Bay Medical Center officials, architects and builders were before the Riverhead Town Board Thursday to request a site plan amendment for its ongoing expansion project, in part to accommodate for increased action at the hospital. Now a Level III trauma center with a cardiac catheterization lab up and running, PBMC has seen an increase in patients, officials said.

The ambulance bays, as part of the site plan amendment, will relocate to allow for more emergency vehicles to park at once. The existing bay was designed for only two ambulances, PBMC president and CEO Andy Mitchell said. But since March, after PBMC got the site plan approval, the hospital was designated as a Level III trauma center for the entire North Fork.

Before that, trauma patients had to be transferred to either Brookhaven Hospital, a Level II trauma center, or Stony Brook University Medical Center, a Level I trauma center. Then in October its cath lab opened.

PBMC is now a segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) receiving center for heart attacks, Mr. Mitchell said. Since the cath lab opened two months ago, PBMC has treated more than 100 cardiac patients and saved the lives of five patients who had full-blown heart attacks, he said.

“The bottom line is, we’re receiving many more ambulances than we ever have before with bonafide major emergencies and we had to increase the number of ambulance bays,” Mr. Mitchell said.

The hospital’s goal is to accommodate five ambulances at a time, attorney Kimberly Judd confirmed.

A challenge in construction in the fact that PBMC was built in the 1950s, which created difficulties in lining up the original and new building. Another change includes a new helipad, which was planned from the start to become a rooftop landing. That will be raised two feet and shifted slightly west. An elevator tower will also be shifted to make up for the differences between the buildings.

Mr. Mitchell noted the rooftop helipad, as opposed to one on the ground, will help reduce noise for neighbors.

Supervisor Sean Walter said he had no problem with the changes. There will be a resolution on it Tuesday if the amended site plan is ready.

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Photo caption: PBMC president and CEO Andy Mitchell at Tuesday’s Riverhead Town Board work session. (Credit: Krysten Massa)