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William Hayek

East Quogue, NY

Rather than do a commendation to any one person, this commendation goes to the team effort of three specific individuals that made it possible for me to continue to walk and live a normal unrestricted life. It started with the keen skills of Dr. Brian Halpern who instantly recognized that my sudden onset of shin splints was a serious lower back problem that had developed. I was training at 65 to take my first vacation in years to go climbing in the Alps. He sensed I needed to do this and placed me in a physical therapy program that allowed me in a very short period of time to accomplish that trip. His personal care and attention was remarkable. That was the second time his keen eyes diagnosed a situation for me on first appearance. As a patient you just feel so reassured you are with the most competent physician. Unfortunately upon my return to the States, the spine had enough and gave in. I was in constant excruciating sciatic pain. There was no relief. I placed a call to Dr. Halpern. I travel from Quogue NY to HSS, but I could barely walk. I thought I would hear from an assistant, but he personally called me himself. He told me that his job was done and that surgery was necessary. I had no question about his diagnosis, but how do I go about this? He told me that he would take care of everything and he sure did follow through. He referred me to Dr. Frank Cammisa. Dr Halpern called me back as well as his assistant to make sure I was surviving (barely) and that all the arrangements with Dr. Cammisa had been taken care of. Enter Dr. Frank Cammisa who did his assessment along with his team of associates. The thoroughness was amazing as the various teams that support him checked and cross checked my responses. When it came to sitting down personally with him, his diagnosis was, like Dr. Halpern, instant. The one thing I noticed which gives the patient comfort, is that there is never a question in his mind. Dr. Halpern exuded that same confidence. My surgery was necessary and more complicated than I imagined. He dictated a letter in front of me reviewing my case. There was not a detail he forgot. Everybody I found out wants Dr. Cammisa as a surgeon so the surgery date is not immediate. Yes, I was in that excruciating pain, but so is everyone else. Here enters Yvonne Rosario RN, his clinical nurse. She is an angel in disguise. The wait for the surgery felt like it took forever, but the comforting voice of Nurse Yvonne made life so much more bearable. Living so far away you feel disconnected and forgotten. Yvonne in a simple email response could bring back the reassurance that you will soon be taken care of. She was my direct connection to the doctor and that was comforting. She really cared and made sure that you were accommodated if you needed any assistance. On many dark days she was my sunshine. The surgery was done and I was out of the excruciating pain and out of HSS two days later. HSS is a phenomenal hospital but that is another series of commendations. For this story is about the three individuals that have allowed me to walk again. I have a way to go before I go back to climb the Alps. But I am living a normal life. How do you thank dedicated people like this except to say "Thank You".