Anthony “Tony” Austin, a paraplegic, is a volunteer, patient and role model in Bellevue’s Rehab Medicine Department
March 14, 2014
New York, NY - Bellevue Hospital Center, part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), announced today that the United Hospital Fund has honored Bellevue volunteer Anthony (Tony) Austin with its 2014 Hospital Volunteer Achievement Award for his outstanding work in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, where he is also a patient.
Austin has been a paraplegic since 1983 when he was a cab driver and was shot on the job. He was treated extensively at Bellevue and continues to be an outpatient in the Rehab Department.
Ten years ago, at the suggestion of his Bellevue rehab doctor, Austin became a volunteer. He works four to five days a week telephoning patients to remind them of their therapy session appointments, informing waiting patients when the therapist is ready to see them, and escorting them to and from their sessions. He explains the rehab services to patients and shares his personal story.
“After patients interact with Anthony, they understand what it means to come to Bellevue and obtain services with compassion, sensitivity and dignity,” said Priscilla A. Daniels, Director of Volunteer Services at Bellevue Hospital. “The staff believes Anthony has made a positive difference in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and the services they provide to patients.”
“I encourage patients to come to their appointments and I explain what they can expect,” Austin said. “Since I’m a patient here too I am going through the same thing they are and I understand what it’s like. It’s important for them to take advantage of the services Bellevue has to offer so they can stay strong and healthy and live a good life.”
Austin was among a group of New York City hospital auxiliary members and volunteers honored Friday at the United Hospital Fund’s 2014 Hospital Auxilian and Volunteer Achievement Award ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria.
“This award recognizes Mr. Austin’s long-standing and deep commitment to his fellow patients at Bellevue and his willingness to share his story and his experience with others to aid in their recovery and healing,” said Steven R. Alexander, Executive Director of Bellevue Hospital. “We appreciate Mr. Austin’s generosity and service. His dedication is an inspiration to us all.”
Bellevue Hospital is a New York State certified Level 1 Trauma Center capable of managing the most serious injuries and illnesses. The hospital handles approximately 1,500 trauma admissions a year. The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine offers a comprehensive range of rehabilitation services, including acute inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient services. Two inpatient units consist of a 46 beds; 22 general rehab and 24 for Traumatic Brain Injury. Outpatient services include specialties such as Orthopedic, Neurologic, Vestibular and Amputee Rehabilitation, Hand Therapy, Lymphedema management, and wheelchair and seating evaluation.
Bellevue is a member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and is America's oldest continuously operating hospital, established in 1736. Affiliated with the NYU School of Medicine, Bellevue is a major referral center for highly complex cases. The 828-bed hospital has more than 4,000 employees and runs an extensive Victim Services Program that works closely with interdisciplinary staff throughout the hospital. Its emergency room sees more than 125,000 visits every year. Clinical centers of excellence include: Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care; Cardiovascular Services; Designated Regional Perinatal Center and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (ICU); Comprehensive Children's Psychiatric Emergency Program; and Cancer Services.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000 member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, five skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission's John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc or find us on facebook.com/nycHHC ortwitter.com/HHCnyc.
Contact: Evelyn Hernandez, 212-562-4516