A few months ago, Tom Perrin fell down the stairs in his home and suffered a knee injury. After waiting in the emergency room at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center for eleven hours, he received a hospital bed.
“If I wasn’t making a fuss, I don’t think he would have gotten a bed that night,” recalls his wife, Catherine, adding that hospital staff told them that her husband did not have the correct paperwork to have x-rays, which caused further delays.
Tom, who eventually needed knee surgery, and Catherine Perrin were among area residents airing their complaints regarding long wait times, as well as concerns about emergency services, parking shortages and other issues, at the bimonthly meeting of the Wyckoff Heights Advisory Board last week.
Over the past few months, the hospital has instituted a series of changes to improve services to those needing emergency care.
“In the last three months, we have made a lot of progress with the time patients arrive to disposition time,” said Dr. Cliff Miller, the hospital's Assistant Vice President of Emergency Services. “Patients are getting through the ER a lot faster.”
According to stats from the hospital, from January to March of this year, the time it took patients to see a doctor after being admitted improved 15 percent, and the time it took to be discharged after seeing a doctor or to get a bed after being admitted improved 20 percent.
The hospital has been undergoing an internal reorganization since the leadership change several months ago, when Nirmal Mattoo became CEO after serving as the hospital’s chief medical director and in other leadership positions for the past 25 years. Both Mattoo and Dr. Bushan Khashu, the new chief medical director, have committed to responding to the needs of the community in order to improve the medical services Wyckoff provides.
“There has been a drain of patients towards Manhattan but all the services available in New York are available here in Wyckoff,” Khashu said. “My mandate is to raise the academic instruction to a level everybody can be proud of.”
For Kathleen Kernizan, director of public relations at Wyckoff Heights, responding to concerns that community members raise at Advisory Board meetings is critical to improving medical services in North Brooklyn.
“I think that the Perrins are demonstrative of the neighborhood residents who live here,” Kernizan said. “They’re good citizens and good people who deserve the best health care and it’s a pleasure to serve them.”