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Niagara Falls Memorial dedicates new Cardiac and Stroke Care Unit

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center dedicated its new Cardiac and Stroke Care Unit Thursday morning, marking a major achievement for the community.

$4.3-million was the final price tag for the new Cardiac and Stroke Care Unit – a big lift for a community that’s poverty-stricken, according to Hospital Vice President for Foundation and Community Relations Judith Nolan Powell.

“Niagara County does not have a lot of money. We don’t have a lot of big donors,” said Powell. “We called on some of our friends in Erie County and Buffalo, but they’ve got needs, too. So we’re particularly proud because we scraped. We scraped the barrell.”

$2-million came from a Health Care Delivery System Innovators Fund Grant, with the remaining portions coming in amounts as high as hundreds of thousands, and as small as five dollar donations – some from people who had been born at Memorial. Completing the unit marks an overall investment of more than $27-million in cardiac care over nearly a decade. It was preceded by the opening of the Heart Center of Niagara and new Emergency Department, and then the county’s first and only Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

State Senator Robert Ortt and Assemblyman Angelo Morinello helped secure the final $400,000 grant for the new unit. At the dedication ceremony, Ortt pointed out that when he and other lawmakers talk about hospitals around the state, the conversation is usually different.

“Very often we’re talking about survivability,” said Ortt. “We’re talking about, ‘Will the hospital be able to be there five years from now? Will it be able to continue to serve that community two years from now?’ Whenever I talk about Memorial, whenever I’m here, we’re expanding. There’s something new happening here. You’re growing. And you’re doing it as an independent hospital.”

The nearly 13,000 square foot facility features 23 private rooms, each facing outward towards sunlight. Rather than spending valuable recovery time travelling across the hospital to physical therapy sessions, patients and staff will have access to a physical therapy room inside the unit, complete with a bathroom used for training.

Dr. Alicia Scott is the hospital’s Stroke Clinical Coordinator. It’s been her job to oversee all cases for stroke care patients in the old telemetry unit. She’ll do the same in the new one. But with state-of-the art technology, she expects the staff she works with will have the opportunity to excel.

“I look forward to seeing lives change,” said Scott. “I look forward to seeing the results – meaning decreased morbidity and mortality. I look forward to seeing improved outcomes.”

Follow WBFO's Avery Schneider on Twitter at @SAvery131.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.