Democrat File Photo
STUART HIRSCH, THE Director of Emergency Critical Care Services at Catskill Regional Medical Center, has resigned.
Stuart Hirsch resigns from CRMC
By Jeanne Sager
HARRIS The last member of the triumvirate that held Catskill Regional Medical Center together during its darkest time in recent years is gone.
A week after speaking out in the Democrat against a possible change in the way cardiac cases are handled in the emergency room, Stuart Hirsch has tendered his resignation.
Hirsch has been employed by the hospital on and off for the past 20 years, most recently as administrative director of emergency critical care services. The position thrust him into the limelight in late 2006 when he became part of a three-person team running the hospital while a search was ongoing for a new CEO.
The other members of the trio former Chief Financial Officer Nick Lanza and former Chief Nursing Officer Kate Thomas have left the hospital during the last six months.
Hirsch has remained involved and vocal about the need for quality care in a rural environment.
He began his career in 1988 as a nurse on the ICU/CCU and in the emergency department.
In the ’90s, Hirsch spent time working for the federal government’s Indian Health Service, getting critical experience in rural healthcare on the reservations of the Navajo Nation.
He worked for the Med Flight air medical team in Arizona and New Mexico and the STAT flight helicopter team at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla before returning to Sullivan County.
At CRMC, his work has been lauded by local and regional practitioners. In particular, he was selected as RN of Excellence by the Hudson Valley Regional Emergency Medical Services Council in 2006.
The model of trauma stabilization Hirsch helped put in place was recognized by the NYS Trauma Advisory Committee as a model for other rural community hospitals to evaluate.
A trained pilot, Hirsch was also instrumental in basing the LifeNet helicopter in Harris enabling a quicker transfer for patients who are in need of immediate care not already available at CRMC.
“I worked to try to ensure there was the same level of care for those without means and those with,” Hirsch said.
That included developing a relationship with the cardiac center at Good Samaritan Hospital, a program that Hirsch told the Democrat last week he heard was in jeopardy of being shut down.
Good Samaritan in Suffern offers cardiac catheterization (angioplasty) and cardio-thoracic surgery, all on the same floor.
Hirsch said the hospital was talking about sending cardiac patients to Orange Regional Medical Center instead, where they’d only be able to receive angioplasty. For more invasive treatments, patients would have to travel to another hospital.
Ruwoldt said the hospital is developing “an algorithm” to determine what patients should go to Good Samaritan and what patients can be sent right to ORMC. The hospital wants to take advantage of its affiliation with its neighbor, he said.
Called for confirmation of Hirsch’s resignation, Ruwoldt could not be reached.
Dr. Edward Lundy, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Good Samaritan, has spoken highly of Hirsch’s efforts in developing the program that’s currently working to save Sullivan’s high cardiac population.
“Stuart Hirsch fought hard for what he thought was best for the patients of Sullivan County,” Lundy said. “He should be commended for that.”
Hirsch will remain in Sullivan County he has a home near Lake Huntington but he will be taking on a larger role with LifeWings, a national company for which he’s already a consultant.
Born out of the aviation model, LifeWings works to save patient lives and reduce healthcare costs with the use of proven aviation tools.
“I feel my job is complete at Catskill,” Hirsch said.