Good Samaritan Hospital earns elite Comprehensive Stroke Center certification


A lot can happen in a year’s time.

In a little more than 12 months, Good Samaritan Hospital went from launching its Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center to it becoming a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center— one of the top recognition for a stroke care institution in the U.S.

The selective honor is given by the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association after evaluating the center’s work standards, clinical practice guidelines, and performance measures.

In addition to Good Sam, there are only two other Long Island establishments that have earned the feat: North Shore University in Manhasset and Stony Brook University Hospital.

The West Islip hospital celebrated the accomplishment with an announcement party with faculty, elected officials, and community leaders on Thursday.

“Every forty seconds in the U.S. stroke occur making it the fifth leading cause of death,” said Ruth Hennessey, president of Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. “Good Samaritan and Catholic Health Services understand the need for cutting-edge stroke care, and we have provided that call on Long Island by providing more than 600 patients with life-saving treatments.”

The Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center is led by Kimon Bekelis, who is also the co-director of the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

“We’ve achieved a lot,” said Bekelis on the growth of the program since its launch in winter 2017. “It is very fulfilling to us to see patients come to us debilitated and then just a few minutes later they were able to move the side that wasn’t moving before.”

In attendance of the celebration was someone who could recall the experience of a stroke. Christine Newins, a 2011 Hofstra University sports Hall-of-Fame inductee for volleyball, suffered a stroke and was treated by Bekelis and his team.

“I am honored and very lucky to be here today,” said Newins in front of the large crowd.

Newins, who had a blood clot that shut down the left side of her brain, is now part of a group that shares their experiences to patients once a month at the hospital.

“Thank you Dr. Bekelis for saving my life,” she said. “This is a wonderful center.”

Dr. Kimon Bekeli with Good Samaritan staff, Islip Town Councilman John Cochran, and stroke survivor Christine Newins.

Top: (L-R) Ruth Hennessey, president of Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Kimon Bekelis, Islip Town Councilman John Cochran.