FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2002
TOWNS DELIVERS $440,000 NEW TECHNOLOGY GRANT FOR KINGS COUNTY HOSPITAL
Tuesday, March 26, 2002 -- Today, Congressman Edolphus "Ed" Towns presented a check for $440,000 to the Chairman of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), Richard T. Roberts, President of HHC, Dr. Benjamin Chu, and Jean Leon, the Executive Director of Kings County Hospital to assist in purchasing the first Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner in any Brooklyn Hospital. The PET scanner is the most sophisticated diagnostic tool available for the early detection of cancer.
"Today's announcement is all about keeping Brooklyn on the leading edge of medical technology," Towns said. "By providing this funding, we are saying that the people of Brooklyn deserve nothing less than the best, most effective and efficient technology to treat diseases such as cancer and coronary artery disease."
Originally built in 1831 as a public infirmary, the hospital expanded rapidly to provide a full spectrum of services. The recently completed state-of-the-art eight-story, 338-bed tower serves the many communities of Central Brooklyn. Kings County today handles approximately 684,000 ambulatory care visits annually, including emergency services. Chairman of HHC's Board of Directors Richard T. Roberts described the project as fundamental in meeting the needs of Kings County's patient community. "This is an excellent example of the kind of support that this Corporation needs. Partnerships such as this one, will allow HHC to continue to provide optimal care."
Dr. Benjamin K. Chu, President of HHC notes, "This initiative represents a new direction for HHC. We are always looking for new ways to improve service and its delivery. The PET Imaging scanner identifies cancer cell growth that may not yet be visible by other modalities. Improved diagnosis and early treatment lowers costs, increases productivity and saves lives."
"We applaud the Congressman's dedication to the health care needs of the Brooklyn community," said Jean Leon, Executive Director of Kings County Hospital Center. "PET scanning allows more precise determination of whether a given tumor is cancerous, whether a cancer has spread, and if so, how extensively," David Stark, M.D., Chairman, Kings County Hospital/SUNY Health Science Department of Radiology. "In addition, a PET scan allows a physician to determine whether a cancer has responded to treatment." For patients with coronary artery disease and/or for those who have had previous heart attacks, the PET scan can also differentiate live heart tissue from scarring. The radiologists performing PET studies consult with cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons to determine whether coronary artery angioplasty or bypass surgery can be beneficial in improving the function of the heart.
HHC is a $4.3 billion public benefit corporation that operates eleven acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities and six diagnostic and treatment centers. Each year 1.3 million people or one in six New Yorkers are treated in an HHC facility, including more than 560,000 uninsured New Yorkers. In a recent survey, eight out of ten patients said they would recommend HHC hospitals to family and friends.
Congressman Towns is serving his 10th term representing parts of Brooklyn. He is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health. In addition, he started his career as a hospital administrator.