By Steve Sears
Compassionate care has always resided at Saint Clare’s Health, which has been serving Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties since 1953.
And when it comes to Saint Clare’s expanded pediatric services in Denville, Andrea Lotosky, MSN, RN,
Administrative Director of Nursing, who has been with Saint Clare’s hospital since 2016, offers a very apt description of a “team.”
“Our slogan, is ‘Neighbors Healing Neighbors.’ We are a family here; everything is a family approach, whether it’s with our kids or with our adult patients. They’re not just a number – they’re not just a patient number or medical record number – they’re a person, and they’re part of the family when they’re here with us. And our team here – our physicians, our nursing staff, our ancillary staff – is a team, a family approach. We approach things as, ‘’If these were our children, how would we want them cared for?’”
A Saint Clare’s mantra is “High Tech and High Touch.” The most up-to-date, finest technological equipment is used in all units, and this partners with the great personal care that Saint Clare’s is well known for.
Dr. Maurice Elias, Chair of Saint Clare’s Pediatrics for over five years, started in the hospital’s pediatrics unit in 1996. He now runs Totowa Pediatrics in Dover, which serves at Saint Clare’s. “It’s a really nice hospital to come to,” he says. “Simple, easy, in and out, very nice staff. You have one on one care, basically. If you’re looking for surgery, orthopedics, and for your children to be taken care of, Saint Clare’s is your neighbor. You don’t have to go far.”
Lotosky cites three outstanding physicians who have come on board since July 2019 that are an important part of the Saint Clare’s equation. “We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Frederick Alexander (Pediatric General Surgeon) join our team. He has been a welcome addition. Dr. Eugene Varghese (Director Pediatric Emergency Medicine) has been integral on our team since last July. He has been integral in educating the other ER doctors, the physician assistants, and the nursing staff, so that when we do get kids in the ER they get the proper care.” Also added in September is The Pediatric Orthopedic Center, of which Dr. Mark Rieger is a founding partner and senior physician. “There are eight physicians in that group that are credentialed here,” says Lotosky.
All services are provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Dr. Alexander, most recently with Hackensack University Medical Center, explains his role. “We do all kinds of things in pediatric surgery. We are not limited to one part of the body. I would say that in many children’s hospitals, pediatric surgery is the kind of glue that holds all of the surgical services together.” Alexander also cites the excellent team and support services, especially those most important to him as a surgeon: radiology and anesthesia. “I have not been disappointed. The radiology department here is great, the anesthesiologists have done excellent work. I think overall the quality of the services we offer here is superb.”
Dr. Rieger coins Saint Clare’s an “unbelievable community hospital.” “Saint Clare’s has always been a very patient-centric hospital that offers tremendous local care on a community basis. They’ve never pretended to be anything else than just a very high-quality community hospital.” The Pediatric Orthopedic Center was in the past a part of that and has now returned. “As far as what we bring to the table, we are a very high-quality orthopedic practice. Saint Clare’s – it’s always been their tradition to look out for the patient’s best interest, and they asked us to come back on and provide these services locally, and not have the family leave the institution or the community to have these services provided. And they’re always trying to expand services.”
“I always saw myself in the community, and 80% of children, that’s where they get their care,” says Dr. Varghese, who initially trained in Emergency Medicine, and then moved onto Pediatric Emergency Medicine after his youngest daughter had a childhood illness. “Andrea (Lotosky) has been a big, big supporter in building the pediatrics program, and has gotten us so many allies. Dr. Alexander is a world class Pediatric Surgeon. Dr. Rieger is very highly respected, and his group, The Pediatric Orthopedic Center – who I’ve worked with – they’re available to the pediatric department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’m very grateful we have them at our facility.”
“Our goal,” Varghese continues, “is to give good community care to our pediatric population. We are here for everyone, but we are (especially) here for your kid. And the emergency department is always there; we’re always available.”
The maternal/child health department at the Katena Center for Mother and Child to the Pediatric Department,
which includes labor and delivery, post-partum nursery, and the Saint Clare’s level-2 NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), is another prime example of top health care. “Two years ago our Neonatologist changed their coverage for Saint Clare’s and are now onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They care for all of our healthy newborns, all of our NICU babies, and all of our babies that need to be readmitted up to 28 days.” Lotosky also mentions Saint Clare’s Behavioral Health hospital, a big piece of Children’s Services. “We kind of holistically treat our families here. We can provide services for just about everything that they need.”
Saint Clare’s invites community pediatricians to turn their antennae towards Denville. “Give Saint Clare’s another look,” Alexander encourages, and with good reason. “What gives me as much pleasure and satisfaction as taking care of the kids is serving the pediatricians. Not only do the children have something to gain by coming to a place that’s so hands on, but the pediatricians do, too.”
It should be noted that Saint Clare’s welcomes credentialed pediatricians to be the primary doctor for their patients while hospitalized. “That’s a major thing,” says Lotosky.
“What has been very satisfying for me is to have direct contact, personal responsibility, and rapport with my patients,” Alexander notes importantly. “When parents bring their children here to Saint Clare’s, what they’re going to experience is a direct contact and relationship with the experienced physicians who are going to be taking care of their kids.”
Saint Clare’s Health is located at 25 Pocono Road in Denville. Visit www.saintclares.com or call (973) 625-6000 to learn more about offered pediatric services.