Cardiologist Waqas Khan knows all about the importance of timely medical attention when it comes to treating someone suffering from a cardiac event.
That importance was staring right back at him Thursday morning, in the form of heart attack survivors who were among the 400-plus at a special ceremony at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital.
“I’m reminded of this every time a patient, or a loved one hugs me and says that I saved their life,” he said. “I’m very humbled and proud to have that responsibility.”
Dr. Khan and the doctors, nurses and staffers at Brookhaven Memorial will get to save lives in style now — with the new $60 million Knapp Cardiac Care Center they all celebrated Thursday.
“These are state-of-the-art cardiac care services,” Dr. Khan said.
Brookhaven Memorial Hospital first instituted a fully functional interventional care program in December 2013, allowing doctors there to administer lifesaving care to cardiac patients instead of the patients having to travel elsewhere.
The three-story, 60,000-square-foot cardiac center, which is connected to the main building off Hospital Road, now allows Brookhaven Memorial to greatly expand upon those services.
The Knapp Cardiac Care Center is now the only interventional cardiac care provider serving Long Island between Patchogue and Montauk, according to hospital officials.
The center was built in part using a generous donation from the Knapp-Swezey Foundation, among several others whose names can be found throughout the rooms and hallways.
It will provide life-saving interventional and diagnostic care, such as emergency catheterization procedures for cardiologists to visualize coronary arteries for assessment and initiate procedures to correct blockages including stents, angioplasty, and medication, according to hospital officials.
The hospital broke ground on the building in July 2014, and the hope is to open around this Thanksgiving once all the governmental approvals are secured.
Speaking to the crowd that had gathered under a large tent on Thursday, Brookhaven’s president and CEO, Richard Margulis, said the center was actually over 20 years in the making.
It was 1997 when the hospital first started discussing internally the compelling need for such cardiac care services here.
Brookhaven submitted a certificate of need with the state in 2004.
“The doors were not opening for us,” recalled Margulis, but “we continued to fight.”
Top: Priscilla Knapp Teich readies to cut the ribbon Thursday at the center’s main entrance.