Expanded emergency department set to open at Peconic Bay Medical Center

Peconic Bay Medical Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday to celebrate its newly expanded emergency department — the Poole Family Trauma and Emergency Center — which is expected to be up and running next month.

The Poole family joined medical professionals at PBMC this week to celebrate the opening of the Poole Family Trauma and Emergency Center. (Credit: Jim Lennon)

“This expansion transcends infrastructure and ceremonial ribbons,” PBMC executive director Amy Loeb said in a speech at the event. “It symbolizes our steadfast dedication to extending a lifeline to those in distress, ensuring that our community has access to timely and compassionate care during critical moments … Our facilities must evolve in tandem with our clinical capabilities.”

The emergency department — which is expanding by 75% — will add patient beds, increase space for specialized care and introduce new technology, including a dual-bay trauma unit, comprehensive radiology capabilities and connectivity to Northwell Health’s e-ICU system and telemedicine, according to hospital officials.

PBMC chair of emergency medicine Dr. Ninfa Mehta said in an interview that the new emergency department can now provide improved stroke care, improved cardiac care for heart attacks and improved trauma care.

She said patient volume at PBMC has grown significantly in recent years.

“It’s one of the fastest-growing Northwell [Health] sites … and definitively the fastest growing hospital on the East End,” she said. “So we really need the space at this point.”

PBMC executive director Amy Loeb salutes Mary Jane and Tom Poole at the dedication of the new Poole Family Trauma and Emergency Center. (Chris Francescani photo.)

The center is named for Tom and Mary Jane Poole of Westhampton Beach and Garden City, who made a $5 million “cornerstone” donation to the $15 million medical center expansion two years ago. Also on hand for the ceremony were two of the couple’s adult children, Shepard Poole and Stacey Poole Lahey, and their spouses.

“Long-standing benefactors of PBMC and members of this beautiful community, Tom and Mary Jane embraced the idea of expanding the emergency department with unwavering enthusiasm — and then they made it happen — which is what they do,” Ms. Loeb said. “Whether it’s for health care or for education, they make things happen. They go all in. They are beautiful people — and amazing.”

In a short speech capped by a standing ovation, Mr. Poole championed the concept of taking big swings with community philanthropy.

Gesturing to John Kanas, whose donations funded the East End Hospice Kanas Center in Quiogue, and more recently, a state-of-the-art simulation lab at PBMC, Mr. Poole said that “I think my friend John Kanas knows when you make a gift, you do it after much consultation with your family and each other … It’s not an easy thing when you think that you’re making a sizable gift that takes away wealth from your family. And it does. You only know what giving is when it affect[s] your net worth. Everything else is penny candy in relation to that.”

In a tent filled with donors, doctors, nurses and EMT crews — many of them uniformed firefighters — Mr. Poole applauded the local medical community.

“I would like all the physicians, nurses and staff members involved with that new trauma and emergency staff to stand up and receive our applause.”

He also saluted Dr. Mehta, who will oversee the expanded emergency department, and PBMC’s chair of cardiology, Dr. Stanley Katz.

Then Mr. Poole turned to the dozens of emergency medical technicians on hand.

“I want each EMT unit in each ambulance to stand up and take our applause.”

He praised his PBMC fundraising team.

“I have the good fortune to be their leader in raising money and establishing parties like these — where I can congratulate myself on the nice things I do,” he said with a broad grin.

Then Mr. Poole, who with his wife will celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary this weekend, shared some personal news.

Last summer, he said, “I stood before most of you in perfect health, asking you to join me in raising a lot of money to bring the vision of Peconic Bay to reality.

“But five weeks ago, I had my reality test, and guess who saved my life? You got it. Peconic Bay Medical Center, Stanley Katz and so many people that work here … five weeks ago today I had a triple bypass and a valve replacement. And I stand before you as a living example that the sun does shine the next morning.”

Pausing while the audience absorbed the news, Mr. Poole, 83, said that the life-saving surgery changed him.

“If you ever hear me complaining about one thing? Kick me in my ass.”

Mr. Poole’s eyes were rimmed with tears as he concluded his speech, saying that he and his family “are so happy to cut the ribbon.

“They know — we all know — if you walk in [to PBMC], you will walk out. And the sun will shine.”