A half century of curing and caring
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There was a time, Walter said, when patients would ring the bell and it could take a while for a staff member to come. He said significant strides have been made to improve patient and family satisfaction.
HealthGrades, a national independent ratings organization, has ranked Franklin as the best on Long Island for orthopedic services for the past three years. It also ranked in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide for orthopedic surgery. Specifically, Franklin was recognized for its work in knee replacements and fracture treatment.
Franklin Hospital has hosted health fairs for several years, which used to be held in a tent in the front parking lot. For the past four years, it has been held in the gymnasium at Memorial Junior High School.
Bill Stris, a trustee on the District 13 Board of Education, said Franklin hasn’t always had the best of relationships with the schools. He remembers one instance in the 1980s when hospital officials wanted to burn medical waste on a part of the property abutting the James A. Dever School playground. He said a large protest by parents put a stop to the plan.
In the late 1970s, when school enrollment was down in Valley Stream and there was talk of closing schools, the hospital was interested in buying the entire Dever property so it could expand. The school board refused, he said, and ultimately the student population went back up.
The school board did allow the hospital to put a gate in the fence between the two properties so helicopters could land in the Dever field and patients could be quickly brought in to the emergency room. Stris said it is a rare occurrence, but it has happened. “I know of at least five or six times in 30 years,” he said.
Stris said the hospital and school district have a good relationship now, and credits much of that to Franklin’s takeover by North Shore-LIJ.
Irene Vigotty, who worked as a nursing supervisor for 40 years until retiring in 2010, said scouts used to visit the hospital. Because she worked the 3 to 11 p.m. shift, she would be the one to take them on tours. “Whenever one of the outside places wanted to come in,” she said, “they would call me.”