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St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Reopens 11th Floor After Devastating Fire

Far Rockaway, New York, June 17, 2024 — When a devastating fire broke out on the roof of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in September 2021, team members, administrators, and emergency personnel jumped into action to evacuate patients safely. The 11th floor, which was severely damaged by the fire, has remained closed since that fateful day, displacing medical-surgical nursing unit team members and forcing the relocation of patients.

“During this time of displacement, our team members showed remarkable adaptability and dedication, floating to and from various floors, providing the highest level of care in the midst of this transition. It has been a challenging time,” said Donald T. Morrish, MD, MMM, Chief Executive Officer, Episcopal Health Services.

On June 6, from the ashes of the fire came progress, as hospital leadership and team members celebrated the reconstruction of the 11th floor during a ribbon-cutting ceremony which included local elected officials and community leaders.

“It’s important for us to recognize the accomplishment of this space,” said Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano, President & Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Episcopal Health Services. “Opening Tower 11 now is a testament to the nursing staff, physicians, the entire medical staff and the administration. This coming from me, is an important word. This is a miracle, a clear and sound miracle.”

The stunning, new state-of-the-art features 38-beds, a family room, advanced telemetry equipment, an upgraded nurse call system, and beautiful new furniture.

“These enhancements will significantly improve patient care, and are just one small example of how we are transforming the facilities within our health system,” said Karen Paige, Chief Operating Officer, EHS. “We are committed to providing high-quality person-centered care in a healing environment that our community and residents deserve.”

Current EHS board member and former CEO Gerard M. Walsh, described the opening of Tower 11 as a new chapter for St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

“Today we officially close the book on the fire. It’s been a long time and a lot of people have done a tremendous amount of work to make this happen,” said Walsh. “And today we open the book on this new, beautiful unit and how much it is going to improve the lives of the people that we serve in this community because that’s what we do. We take care of people.”

About Episcopal Health Services

Episcopal Health Services Inc., (EHS) is a health system located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. The system provides emergency and ambulatory care to the densely populated, culturally and economically diverse, and medically underserved Rockaways and Five Towns populations. The system provides people of all faiths with comprehensive preventive, diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative services, regardless of their ability to pay.