New hospital unit heals pains

Elmhurst Hospital Center Executive Director Chris Constantino (second from l.-r.), Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur of the Queens Health Network, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Executive Vice President Antonio Martin, City Councilman Daniel Dromm and Dr. Deborah Reynolds of Elmhurst's cardiology unit cut the ribbon on Elmhurst's new chest pain observation unit. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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Elmhurst Hospital Center opened its new Chest Pain Observation Unit Monday, capping a long-awaited, $1 million project which the staff said will ease their crowded emergency room.

“This is something that surely is needed here in this hospital,” said Antonio Martin, executive vice president of the city Health and Hospitals Corp., which operates Elmhurst Hospital Center.

The hospital, at 79-01 Broadway in Elmhurst, received $1 million in funding for the 13-bed unit from City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and the Council’s Queens delegation.

Chris Constantino, executive director for Elmhurst Hospital Center, said it had been given the funding in 2011 and started using the unit right after Monday’s ribbon-cutting.

“When we clear this out, we will start wheeling patients in,” he said.

Elmhurst’s new unit will be run by the emergency room staff with an assist by the cardiology staff. Constantino said under Medicare and Medicaid, patients who have chest pains but have not had a heart attack should be in an observation unit so medical staff can properly diagnose the best care. Patients can stay in the room for up to 23 hours for various tests such as sonograms and stress tests.

Dromm, who has taken his mother to the hospital for care in the past, said it has been a campaign promise of his to support Elmhurst in light of the numerous hospital closures that have taken place across the borough. He said Elmhurst is vitally important to the immigrant community, who often use the hospital for primary care.

“Elmhurst, in fact, is the place you go if you’re undocument­ed,” he said.

Queens has had several hospitals shut down over the past five, including the 2007 closing of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Flushing, the 2008 closing of Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, the 2009 closings of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica and St. John’s Hospital Queens in Elmhurst and the closure two months ago of Peninsula Hospital in the Rockaways.

Constantino said even though Peninsula Hospital was far from Elmhurst, the ripple effects from the shutdown have still been felt at the center, which has seen a residual increase in demand.

“This room couldn’t come at a better time,” he said.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting for the new unit was greeted enthusiastically by about 100 hospital staff members, as well as a group of visiting nurses and doctors from China’s Fujian Provincial Hospital.

“This area is going to be a great help to our patients,” said Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur, regional director for the Queens Health Network, “to our nurses especially.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:25 pm, July 26, 2012
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Reader feedback

John Aquatero from Jackson Heights says:
This is how Elmhurst Hospital really works, Please read the below situation and how they treat a crime victim.

I have be told tonight that if I don't move my partner Jose Latoni, WE am going to face some harsh consequences, what are they? all because I want my partner to have medical treatment from being a victim of a HIT AND RUN CRIME! read below.

I need your help with Elmhurst hospital, My partner was a victim of that HIT AND RUN accident in Jackson Heights on March 25th, he was taken to Elmhurst hospital and today they want him moved to a rehab center, since he was make good progress in his health but still not out of the woods, he has a medical condition that causes his recovery to take longer myatonic dystrophy and we are not sure about the car owners insurance that they will cover the rehab. I got today a 24 Hour discharge for the rehab (which I have not looked into to see how good the rehab center is. I need help in stopping Elmhurst hospital from putting him out in the street.
My legal partner is Jose Latoni and we live at 3424 82nd Street 6E in Jackson Heights. and we NEED HELP NOW!! The accident was on 35Ave between 81st and 82nd Street there was police investigation and signs for information leading to the arrest f the driver, since the owner has lawyered up after not being forthcoming with the police. PLEASE HELP US.!!

I still don't know what's happening with Elmhurst hospital, I was given that 24 hour notice and could not speak with the doctor but I did get to speak with some lady from somewhere asking about why I did not want Jose moved, and I told her that the rehab don't even have doctors 24 hours a day, they have to be called in to treat any issues that arise, also if there is any medical issue Jose would have to be transported to another hospital
for treatment. I also noticed what I have been asking for weeks that Jose start getting physical therapy, and the therapist came in this evening to show Jose what he needs to be done. I seem to be listed as a pain in the ass for the hospital as it was said I should not be making bad press for the hospital. But I guess for that doctor to down me for caring for my partner of 16 years, so be it. I will not stand by and be spoken to accusing me of hurting Jose for not wanting Jose to be tossed out of a place that is here to treat his trauma. And Jose was a victim of a crime to begin with and then treated as the person who ran him down and didn't stop.
the doctor had no respect for me wanting what's needed for Jose's recovery and speaking to me like I was a piece of crap in front of the patient and his husband and caregiver, Her license to practice should be revoked.
also the rehab also told me the cost for their rehab starts at $10,000 per month with other charges that needed to be added in.
I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.

Thank you and if you can pass on this email so that doctor who should not be able to speak to another loved one again.

John Aquatero
May 11, 2013, 6:44 am

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