Image of emergency room patient Claire Becker needing stitches

Claire Becker, a Fordham University junior, was slicing vegetables for dinner in her Bronx apartment when the knife zigged and her hand zagged.

“I accidentally sliced open the skin between my thumb and index finger,” Claire recalled, as blood began to flow from her hand.

Claire, who is a pre-medical student and recently started volunteering at SBH Health System, knew this was no ordinary cut. She called EMS and was brought to St. Barnabas Hospital to receive stitches in her left hand.

Claire said, “I was scared!” and admitted sharing the misconceptions some Fordham students have about SBH. But Claire’s experience was nothing short of excellent.

“I expected to be waiting at least four hours just to be seen,” she said. “But once I arrived, I was taken to the Pediatric Emergency Room. In less than 40 minutes I was seen by a resident and released in under two hours.”

Claire was particularly impressed by the kindness she received from the SBH staff while being treated. “When I came to the hospital, I was a wreck,” she said. “But as the resident stitched me up, she talked to me about my pre-med courses, MCATs, and her own path to becoming a physician. It made me feel much more comfortable.”

After the resident finished, Dr. Ernest Patti, a senior emergency medicine physician, entered the room to examine Claire’s hand. According to Claire, Dr. Patti took the time to fully answer her questions and joked around with her to brighten her mood.

Claire returned to St. Barnabas 10 days later to have her stitches removed and had another positive experience. “I was shocked by how quickly I was seen. I brought my schoolwork with me because I was expecting a long wait,” she said. “But I was in and out in under 40 minutes and received fantastic care.”

Claire’s experience is not unique. The hospital has been taking active steps to improve the lives of patients and raise the standard of healthcare in the Bronx. Most recently, this included opening up a “fast track” system in the emergency department. In addition, the hospital was selected as New York’s #1 hospital for quality in primary care according to Health First.

When asked what she would like people to know about SBH, Claire said, “It’s a really great place that helps a lot of people. The staff and other patients are really friendly and everyone there has so many cool stories to tell. Overall, I had an excellent experience.”

Michael Rinaldi