SERVING THE BOROUGH FOR OVER A CENTURY, SIUH SOUTH CELEBRATES THE NEXT CHAPTER OF ITS STORIED HISTORY, REBRANDING AS PRINCE’S BAY
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMESSE PHOTOGRAPHY
After celebrating the centennial anniversary of Staten Island University Hospital’s South Site in May, honoring its history as the former Richmond Memorial Hospital and commemorating its 100 year transition from a wooden farmhouse to the modern structure and facility it is today, members of the SIUH family recently gathered once again as the facility was officially renamed SIUH Prince’s Bay.
“For me, this rebranding represents what we’ve always done well, and a new path forward to reinvent this place for what it needs to be for the future of this community,” explained Brahim Ardolic, M.D., SIUH’s executive director. “Over the past three years this hospital has undergone a major transformation to offer specialized care to Staten Island.”
When Richmond Memorial Hospital officially opened its doors on September 18, 1920, it contained 25 beds, a staff of eight attending physicians, one resident doctor, and 19 hospital workers.
Funded by a hefty donation from local philanthropist Berta Dreyfus in the early 1920s, the hospital launched as a three story, 64 bed, brick and terracotta facility. Considered a forward thinking contemporary who took on a very active role in the site’s planning and development, Dreyfus, the widow of Louis Dreyfus, who earned his fortune developing a synthetic compound used by Wrigley’s to enhance its popular Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, and Doublemint stick gums, would later donate another $275,000 to add a new wing to the hospital and double its size.
“She was heavily involved in this organization, and to really push this forward and play an active role in this place for decades gives you an idea of how forward thinking she really was,” noted Dr. Ardolic.
“This small community hospital has provided Staten Island with more than a century of care,” noted Dr. Theodore Strange, SIUH’s chairman of medicine.
In its earliest days the hospital itself was challenged by the influenza outbreak of 1918 and the financial hardships of the Great Depression. But Richmond Memorial persevered and even expanded in the early 1930s to include a residence for nurses, and once again in 1935, doubling its patient capacity.
Advancements in medicine allowed the organization to offer some of the country’s first flu vaccines in 1945, and groundbreaking balloon angioplasty and stent treatments in the 1990s.
Merging with Staten Island Hospital to become Staten Island University Hospital in 1989, and then announcing its affiliation with North Shore LIJ in 1996 (officially renamed North well Health in 2015), the hospital has dramatically expanded throughout its 100 year existence. Before 1988, the emergency department contained only four beds; today the ER features 30 beds and handles approximately 35,000 visits each year.
Since 2018, the hospital has renovated and expanded its emergency department through the generosity of Emergency Children’s Help Organization (ECHO). The hospital has also introduced a cardiac rehab gym for patients recovering from heart attacks and other cardiac issues, and launched a robotic surgery division and a new orthopedic and surgical care unit.
The hospital’s new name SIUH Prince’s Bay commemorates the community that the hospital serves.
“This community based hospital has such a rich history,” noted Meagan Sills, associate executive director for hospital operations. “Renaming it not only gives it a new image, it also encourages new excitement from the people it serves. There is much planned in the coming months and years for this campus we were just granted additional funding for a new surgical unit and there will be new MRI technology coming next year. It’s wonderful how many new services we will be able to provide for the patient population in this section of the borough.”
North well Health’s President and CEO Michael Dowling was on hand for the rebranding ceremony and lauded the team’s efforts to prepare the institution for the next century.
“The revitalization of this hospital and the building of new programs represents a whole new recommitment to the community,” he said. “The name is important because it represents something new, a new journey looking to the future in a bright, positive, and optimistic way and committing to making sure that the original intent of this hospital, which was to serve the community in a holistic way, continues through the investment and growth of new programs.”
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