Coney Island Hospital honcho honored for outstanding public service

Check it out: Joseph Marcellino, the 2019 Sloan Public Service Award winne, poses with his prize money at a ceremony in his honor on May 23.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Coney Island

Hip, hip, hooray for Joseph Marcellino, the director of Emergency Management at Coney Island Hospital, who recently received an award for outstanding public service.

Marcellino, who was chosen as the recipient of the 2019 Sloan Public Service Award out of an original pool of 250,000 candidates, led the hospital through Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, drawing on his lifelong career in crisis management.

“While everyone is running around like a headless chicken, I’m the calm, cool, collected one. When everyone is running out of the fire, I’m running into the fire,” said Marcellino. “That’s what I do. I’m the guy you count on.”

Marcellino oversaw the response to both extreme weather events, which each presented unique challenges. The hospital evacuated hundreds of patients to other facilities in the days leading up to Irene, but remained sheltered in the hospital’s upper floors during Sandy.

“During Sandy, we had patients coming to the hospital by boat,” he said. “People look at hospitals as a place of refuge. Whatever’s happening in the community, people are always going to go to the place of refuge.”

Marcellino said the award was in his name, but belonged to the team that he oversees.

“I’m so grateful and humbled to be getting this award, but this award isn’t just about me. It’s about having a great team of people around you,” he said.

While the accolades belong to his colleagues, the $10,000 reward is going to his children’s college fund.

“Although, with the taxes in New York City, who knows,” he joked.

A decades-long career in emergency management has left Marcellino prepared for almost anything.

“Weapons of mass destruction is the worst nightmare,” he said. “In the event of a nuclear bomb, I’m going to sit down with my wife, and open the liquor cabinet.”

Sanding O congratulates Marcellino on the award, and for a successful career! — Aidan Graham

Sunset Park

Miracle worker

Three cheers for Dr. Sheila Blumberg, a board-certified vascular surgeon at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn who put patient Jose Palacios back on a path to wellness when she helped save his foot after he developed a severe infection because of complications related to Type 2 diabetes.

When Palacios arrived to the operating room last March, he thought he might never walk again. The infection in his foot had gotten so bad his doctor told him amputation may be necessary. But when the surgery was over, he could hardly believe his eyes.

“I figured when I woke up, I would have no foot,” says Palacios. “So when I looked over and saw my foot, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, am I dreaming?’ ”

Blumberg, a board-certified vascular surgeon, says Palacios was experiencing septic shock when he first arrived to the hospital’s Emergency Department. He had developed a severe infection because of diabetic foot ulcers.

While Palacios’s outside doctor told him the foot was unsalvageable, Blumberg was able to uncover the underlying issue — and reverse his fortune.

“He had deteriorated so much because he not only had diabetic foot disease, but also chronic venous disease that went untreated,” she said. “He would not have been able to heal his leg without resolving those conditions.”

Blumberg used a procedure called excisional debridement and skin graft techniques to reconstruct his foot and clear out the infection. To prevent future occurrences and improve blood flow to the leg, Blumberg used a process called laser ablation on the troublesome veins that limited circulation.

As a specialist in vascular surgery, Blumberg is part of NYU Langone’s Vein Center, one of the top vein treatment programs in the city. The center uses minimally invasive procedures to treat conditions affecting veins (the blood vessels that transport blood toward the heart), including varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis, and venous ulcers.

Since the surgery, Palacios, 56, has been focusing on eating a healthy diet, seeing his doctors regularly, and getting plenty of exercise — on his own two feet.

Lifesaver: Patient Jose Palacios reunited with Dr. Sheila N. Blumberg, a vascular surgeon at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn who he credits with saving his foot in emergency surgery to treat an infection.
NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn

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