Long Islanders Breathe Easier

Vol. 18, No. 1
Spring 2008

  • The CyberKnife Challenge: Shrinking Hard-to-treat Tumors

  • Cutting-Edge Procedure Saves Patient with Rare Heart Condition

  • Winthrop Receives Highest Praise From Prestigious Joint Commission

  • Long Islanders Breathe Easier

  • Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Support Winthrop

  • Carleigh McCormack Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Lab Opens at Winthrop

  • Winthrop & Healthtrax: Partners in Wellness

  • Winthrop Celebrates and Honors its Volunteers and Auxilians

  • Yuletide Ball Raises Nearly $170,000 in Support of Pediatric Services

  • Winthrop Volunteers Wrap Holiday Gifts to Raise Funds for Reach Out and Read Program

  • Evening of 'Tasting and Giving' Raises $55,000 for Winthrop's CCFK

  • Astoria Federal Funds Creation of Virtual Resource Center for Diabetes Education

  • Winthrop's New Serenity Chapel Lights the Way for Peace & Hope

  • Winthrop to Undergo Facelift

  • Toshiba Reps Travel from Tokyo to Tour CyberKnife Center

  • Pat Lyons Foundation Supports Survivors of Childhood Cancers

  • Citigroup Foundation Supports CCFK

  • Loads of Toys for Winthrop's Young Patients

  • NY Islanders Visit Pediatrics

  • Winthrop Gets the Gold for Excellence in Stroke Care

  • Winthrop Continues Flu Immunization Program for Seniors

  • Local Homemakers Create & Donate Surgical Dolls

    Back to Publications

  • There are few things in life that most of us take more for granted than breathing. The very act of drawing in oxygen-rich air to oxygenate the blood and exhaling to expel carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste is something we often do without ever thinking about it. Yet for people with pulmonary disorders like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), breathing can be a daily struggle.

    At Winthrop's Institute for Lung Care, patients benefit from an assortment of highly specialized services that can help them to breathe easier.

    Grace Taras, for example, was unable to go shopping or even take a shower without experiencing severe shortness of breath before she was treated for pulmonary hypertension at Winthrop. Today, the 70-year-old Bethpage resident is grateful to the team at Winthrop's renowned Pulmonary Hypertension Center, whose expert care has enabled her to breathe easier during her routine activities - something that most people take for granted.

    "When I used to go shopping, I'd lean on the cart and stop to rest every few steps because I could barely breathe," Mrs. Taras recalls. But that all changed after she consulted Winthrop's Pulmonary Hypertension Center, a highly specialized center that caters to the needs of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH) - a type of high blood pressure that specifically affects the flow of blood in the lungs.

    Adam Hurewitz, MD, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Winthrop and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center and Mary Bartlett, NP, the Center's Nurse Practitioner, assess Grace Taras' progress.
    "Thanks to the first-rate pulmonary care that I received at Winthrop, now I can walk through the mall without stopping - something I was never able to do!" exclaimed Mrs. Taras recently. "While my treatment has not cured me, it certainly has improved the quality of my life."

    "There is, as yet, no cure for pulmonary hypertension," says Adam Hurewitz, MD, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Winthrop and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center. "But we do have a wide range of medical treatments that can not only extend patients' lives, but also, very importantly, improve the quality of life."

    Dr. Hurewitz points out that there is a tremendous need for patients and the community to become educated about pulmonary hypertension. "Pulmonary hypertension can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue and fainting, but it is frequently misdiagnosed or allowed to progress to a late stage before it is treated properly."

    Patients at Winthrop's Pulmonary Hypertension Center receive personalized and attentive care from the Center's nurse practitioner, Mary Bartlett. Specialists in Winthrop's award-winning Institute for Heart Care provide essential services such as echocardiograms and right-heart catheterizations - one of the most accurate and useful tests for PH - to promptly lead to an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

    After a thorough evaluation and diagnosis, patients receive expert medical care from the Winthrop pulmonology team, as well as opportunities to participate in the latest clinical research studies, through which they may take advantage of new and emerging therapies.

    Some patients with pulmonary problems are referred to Winthrop's renowned Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, which provides education, exercise, group support and a home-maintenance regimen to patients with breathing disorders including emphysema and COPD.

    Established by pulmonologist Michael Niederman, MD, Chairman of Winthrop's Department of Medicine, more than 20 years ago, and now under the leadership of Peter Spiegler, MD, Medical Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Respiratory Care, the program is staffed by a team of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, pharmacists and social workers who are committed to meeting the unique needs of each patient.

    "The longevity and enduring success of Winthrop's Pulmonary Rehabilitation program is due to the dedication of Winthrop's staff to meet the needs of patients with chronic lung disease," said Dr. Niederman.

    Upon completion of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, which consists of two-hour sessions, three times each week for eight weeks, graduates are encouraged to become a part of the "Winthrop Eager Breathers" (WEB).

    "The Winthrop Eager Breathers are a strong and wonderful support group for graduates of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program," said Jonathan Ilowite, MD, attending pulmonologist and Director of Winthrop's Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship program. "In addition to hosting regular support group meetings, WEB provides an important social network for members."

    At monthly meetings led by Mara Bernstein, LRT, Administrative Director of Pulmonary Outpatient Services at Winthrop, members discuss a wide range of educational topics, including how to communicate with your physician, holistic approaches to treatment, and relaxation and stress management techniques. Among the highlights of WEB membership are opportunities to participate in a number of recreational activities, including an exciting annual picnic and day-trips.

    "Every pulmonary patient can feel comfortable attending these activities because they are surrounded by a support network of others who are all in the same boat," said Ms. Bernstein.

    Graduates of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program also have access to a rehabilitation gym at Winthrop, so that they may maintain the benefits of the better breathing they've gained through the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program.

    Experts in Winthrop's Institute for Lung Care diagnose and manage the full range of pulmonary conditions, including sleep disorders and lung cancer.

    For more information about pulmonary care at Winthrop, please call 1-866-WINTHROP.

    Winthrop's distinguished Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program recently celebrated 20 years of service to the community. Pictured at the commemorative luncheon are (l.-r.): Paul W. Whalen, Assistant Vice President at Winthrop; Daniel P. Walsh, Winthrop's President and CEO; Mara Bernstein, LRT, Administrative Director of Pulmonary Outpatient Services at Winthrop; Peter Spiegler, MD, Medical Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Respiratory Care; Adam Hurewitz, MD, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Winthrop and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center; and Pulmonary Rehabilitation staff Doreene Costello, RN; Grace Trimmer, RN; Georgine Montell, Physical Therapist; and Alan Lurie, Registered Respiratory Therapist.

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