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Emergency Medicine Team Returns from NYC COVID-19 Front Lines

Friday, April 17, 2020

Emergency Medicine team from UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital

An Emergency Medicine team from UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital has returned from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.

The last of the 14 SMH Emergency Medicine staff members – physicians, physician assistants and registered nurses – arrived back in Rochester on Sunday, after supporting medical staff at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center for nearly a week.

Team members were able to provide extra hands to assist Northwell’s staff, including helping rapid response teams, ICU units and the Emergency Department.

“The efforts of our team this past week, and through our second UR Medicine group serving in those same hospitals right now, offer some relief for those providers who have been struggling on the front lines,” said Michael F. Kamali, M.D., chair of Emergency Medicine. “In addition to helping our Northwell colleagues, we have gleaned valuable knowledge that can be shared across our own community as COVID-19 evolves here in Rochester.”

For ED medical director Aekta Andrea Miglani M.D., FACEP, the experience reinforced that what UR Medicine has been doing to prepare all its hospitals is on point.

“It was very reassuring that what we have put in place here is right on track,” Miglani said. “I didn’t hear one idea or see one thing that we haven’t already done. We have had the luxury of time, which they have not downstate, and I am convinced we are ready for whatever comes.”

The Northwell providers were grateful for our help, and there was an immediate, mutual admiration among the teams, said ED director of nursing Wendy Allen-Thompson M.S., R.N., NE-BC, CEN.

“There was so much collaboration and teamwork, and incredible resiliency,” Allen-Thompson said. “We saw their hospital, all departments, coming together to care for patients. Providers from different services doing whatever needed to be done.”

Miglani added, “This situation has the potential to fracture a group, push us apart. But at Northwell, like here, we are seeing it bringing everyone together. We are being forced to practice a kind of medicine we’ve never practiced before and we’re doing it together.”

The entire team witnessed incredible care being delivered, Allen-Thompson said. “We helped care for patients who were alone because of visitor restrictions, and the extra effort that went into connecting those patients with loved ones, especially through technology, was heartwarming.” It is something UR Medicine already has implemented by handing out iPads for patients for face-to-face calls with loved ones, understanding the importance of staying connected for both patients and their families.

The care extended well beyond patients, said Jesse Shuff, P.A., with proactive efforts among colleagues who are mindful of the strain everyone is under, making sure to support others, often prompting co-workers to take breaks to help them regroup.

UR Medicine’s second team is serving downstate until this weekend, stationed at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, as well as Long Island Jewish Valley Stream.

The 14-member team consisted of:

  • Wendy Allen-Thompson, R.N.
  • Rebecca Chatt, R.N.
  • Laura Coles, R.N.
  • Ann Marie Dailey, R.N.
  • Sarah Dunstan, R.N.
  • Lynette Marie Froula, M.C.
  • Paolo Grenga, M.D.
  • Joseph Konwinski, M.D.
  • Valerie Lou, M.D.
  • Aekta Andrea Miglani, M.D.
  • Flavia Nobay, M.D.
  • Kristy Rodgers, P.A.
  • Jesse Shuff, P.A.
  • Kyle Sterzin, P.A.

The second team now serving downstate consists of:

  • Angela Barskaya, M.D.
  • Molly Devries, R.N.
  • Kayla Dewey, M.D.
  • Maia Dorsett, M.D.
  • Angela Fenton, FNP-C
  • Lianna Gates, R.N.
  • James Klezmer, R.N.
  • Howard Lin, M.D.
  • Timothy Nervina, FNP-C
  • Rebecca Stott, R.N.
  • Daniel Stratz, M.D.
  • Tina VanWie, R.N.
  • Matthew Wolanski, FNP-C
  • Amanda Wolck, R.N.

Media Contact

Karin Christensen

(585) 275-1311

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