News & Events (95)

March 18, 2014


Watertown, New York ----- Samaritan Medical Center will be hosting its second annual Physician Recognition Dinner on Thursday, April 3, 2014. This event, supported by the SMC Foundation and Medical Executive Committee, is held on or around National Doctors’ Day (March 30th) to honor Samaritan’s active and retired physicians for their dedication.

As part of this event, one physician is selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was established to recognize a Samaritan physician for his/her leadership and service to the health and well-being of the Northern New York community. Whether in their private practice, hospital duties, Board or Medical Staff leadership positions or volunteer work, Samaritan’s physicians dedicate their time and talent to making the community a better place to live.

The 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is David O. VanEenenaam, MD. Dr. VanEenenaam, an orthopaedic surgeon, moved to Watertown in 1968 and dedicated the next 43 years of his life to serving the healthcare needs of the Northern New York region. He was a founding member of the North Country Orthopaedic Group.  Those years included leadership positions at SMC, including Chairman of the Department of Surgery and numerous Medical Staff committees. He also served on the Board of Directors at Mercy Hospital. He retired from active practice, with the North Country Orthopaedic Group, in 2011.

Dr. VanEenenaam established the Muscular Dystrophy Clinic at Mercy Hospital in the early 1970’s. He was a delegate to the Medical Society of the State of New York and past president of the New York Medical Political Action Committee. He has served on numerous Boards of community organizations, including Black River Valley Club, Children’s Home of Jefferson County, Ives Hill Country Club and Ives Hill Land Company. Dr. VanEenenaam was the long-time team physician for Watertown High School football, Red and Black Semi-professional Football, and Watertown Boxing Club. He is a past fundraising chairman for the United Way.

“This event has been established to offer the entire community an opportunity to recognize and thank our physicians for their time, talent and commitment,” states Thomas H. Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center. “We ask a lot of our physicians. In addition to the day-to-day work in their offices or here at the hospital doing rounds or performing surgery and other procedures, our physicians actively participate in other initiatives, such as Medical Staff committees, Boards, and other leadership roles. Our community is fortunate to have a Medical Staff of this caliber.”

Samaritan also celebrates Doctors’ Day at the hospital and other locations. Physicians are treated to a special brunch throughout the morning and afternoon and presented with a special gift of appreciation. Additionally, awards are given to ten physicians nominated by the staff in various light-hearted categories, such as “Most Likely to Star in a TV Cooking Show” and “Most Likely to Ride a Bike to Work.”

The Physician Recognition Dinner is being held at 6 p.m. at the Black River Valley Club. For more information, please contact the Medical Staff Relations Office at SMC at 779-5184.

News Release #14-006
Contact: Krista A. Kittle
(315) 785-4504

Seven Samaritan Emergency Department Registered Nurses traveled to Plattsburgh NY to attend the Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) in January and all of them successfully completed the course! The purpose of TNCC is to present core-level knowledge, refine skills, and build a firm foundation in trauma nursing. Christa Tribble (Assistant Nurse Manager and TNCC Instructor) presented these RNs with a special TNCC pin this week and thanked them for their dedication to Samaritan and our patients.

Congratulations to each of them - Karen Olsen, Karen Verescak, Pablo Otero, Meredith Potter, Desiree Fuller, Danielle Bell and Tim Lalonde!

Pictured from left to right are: Karen O. (sitting), Karen V., Pablo, Meredith, Desiree, Christa Tribble (ED Assistant Nurse Manager) and Danielle (sitting).


January 29, 2014
Contact: Morgan Bocciolatt
(315) 785 – 4053

Watertown, NY ----- More than 60 models of all ages will step on the runway to showcase the latest styles in bridal, prom, and formal wear fashion during the “Bridal, Prom & More” Fashion Show to benefit Children’s Miracle Network. The annual show will take place once again at the Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center off Faichney Drive at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 9.

The fashion show, formerly known as “Teens for Miracles”, will feature high school age models to showcase prom wear, as well as children and adults who will be featured in bridal and other formal wear. “Bridal, Prom & More” will be hosted by Olivia Grant, Miss Thousand Islands 2014.

The cost to attend is $10 per person, a charitable donation to Children’s Miracle Network. Guests can reserve their seat in advance by making their charitable donation online at

Fashion show sponsors include A Touch of Grace, Nelson’s Formal Wear, Bruce M. Wright Memorial Conference Center, R and H Creations, Sherwood Florist, CabanaBay Tanning, Corleone Limo Service, Barbara Yerdon-Mary Kay, D.J. Shamrock, and The Beauty Bar.

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Contact: Janelle Bossuot

Watertown, NY – The surgical team at Samaritan Medical Center is proud to provide patients with the most minimally invasive surgical options, including single-incision gallbladder removal using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System. During a da Vinci® Single-Site™ Cholecystectomy a patient’s gallbladder is removed through one tiny incision in the belly button, approximately one inch, making the procedure virtually scarless.

Potential benefits of Single-Site gallbladder surgery may include virtually scarless surgery, minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, a short hospital stay and high patient satisfaction.

"Neither robotic-assisted surgery nor single-incision surgery is new, but combining the two to remove the gallbladder requires additional training and special equipment," says Dr. Robert O. Kimball. "To offer this technically advanced surgery demonstrates Samaritan’s leadership in providing patients with the most minimally invasive surgical options."

“Single-Site instruments used with the da Vinci Surgical System are the next step in the evolution of surgical technologies,” Dr. Eduardo B. Barayuga said. “We are truly excited to be a leader today in the surgical treatment of tomorrow.”

Both Drs. Barayuga and Kimball of Samaritan General Surgery Practice perform Single-Site robotic-assisted gallbladder surgery.

Unlike traditional robotic surgeries requiring three to five small incisions, this technology allows for a single incision in the belly button where instruments are placed and the diseased gallbladder is removed.

Gallbladder disease affects 10-15% of adults in the United States and Europe. According to the American College of Surgeons, surgery is the recommended treatment for gallbladder pain from gallstones and non-functioning gallbladders. More than 1 million people in the U.S. have their gallbladder removed each year. Many people who require gallbladder removal are candidates for the robotic-assisted, single-incision surgery.

Samaritan offers various types of robotic-assisted surgeries. In addition to gallbladder removal, surgeons perform robotic-assisted surgery in urology, general surgery and gynecology. Samaritan also offers a wide range of minimally invasive conventional laparoscopic surgeries.

For information on robotic and other minimally invasive surgeries at Samaritan Medical Center, visit our web site at


News Release 14-002
January 21, 2014
Contact: Janelle Bossuot


Watertown, New York ----- Imagine being able to watch your favorite movie during an MRI. This is now a reality for patients at Samaritan Medical Center with the new Cinemavision MRI video from Resonance Technology. These innovative "goggles," accompanied with MRI safe headphones, immerse patients in a video of their choice and ultimately help patients remain calm during the noisy MRI scan. This will allow technicians to obtain better imaging results without the use of sedation or anesthesia.

"Our hope is that this technology will decrease the number of instances in which we have to give our patients sedatives," said Cicero Holmes, Director of Imaging Services at Samaritan Medical Center. "MRI tests can make some patients feel anxious, and we want to do our best to put them at ease and provide the best experience possible during their exam."

The MRI goggles produce a video image similar to what a person would experience from a five foot display set while standing ten feet away. So the image will appear as if it is being projected from a distance to prevent any feelings of claustrophobia. Patients will have the option to view a pre-selected video. Additionally, the MRI technician can communicate via a microphone and project a video image of themselves in the goggles so the patient can see and hear the technician.

Adults and children who suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety during MRI examinations will benefit from the use of the goggles. According to a study in Applied Radiology, the use of these goggles will reduce the need to sedate children younger than seven-years-old during MRI exams by 35 percent.

The Cinemavision MRI video goggles have been installed in the Medical Center’s traditional MRI suite and the new mobile Open MRI.

Samaritan Medical Center is the first in Northern and Central New York to offer this new and innovative technology.


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Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:35

New Year's Baby!

Our New Year's baby, Allison Marie House, was born on January 1st at 2:42 pm to her proud parents, Faith Ferguson and Derick House! She weighed 8 lbs and 2 ozs and is beautiful. We hope Mom and Dad enjoy the special gifts from our Maternity Department too!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Contact: Morgan Bocciolatt
(315) 785 – 4053

Eight North Country healthcare organizations, including seven hospitals and one clinic, were the recipients of capital grants from Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York (CMN) totaling $65,593 during a formal presentation today at Samaritan Medical Center.

“This is just one more way that North Country healthcare organizations can partner together to ensure access to quality healthcare services for our communities,” said Thomas H. Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center. Since the Capital Grants Program began in 2000, CMN has allocated more than $300,000 to numerous hospitals and healthcare organizations with child-centered needs throughout Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. (See attached list). CMN of Northern New York is one of the only CMN hospitals in the United States and Canada to provide such grants to agencies outside of their own.

Samaritan Medical Center received a total of $74,085 in equipment this year. CMN has also continued its pledge of $90,000 per year to help fund renovations for the Maternity and Pediatrics units. Additionally, the CMN Allocations Committee approved more than 40 family requests in 2013, totaling $36,588 in direct family assistance grants. Families can request up to $3,000 per child per year in financial assistance to help with travel expenses, medical services, and equipment not covered by insurance.

Support from both local and corporate level sponsors, as well as individuals, makes it possible for CMN to be able to award these grants. During the presentation, eight outstanding partners were recognized: Kinney Drugs Foundation, Inc. (Corporate Partner), Walmart & Sam’s Club (Corporate Partner), Community Broadcasters (Major Local Partner), 7 News/Fox 28 (Major Local Partner), Creative Imaging Fine Photography (Event Partner), and A Touch of Grace (Event Partner). Each of these organizations has continually dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York. It is due to these efforts that CMN is able to achieve its mission – to raise funds and allocate those funds toward improving the health and well-being of children through Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.

Capital Grants provided to outside healthcare organizations include:

E.J. Noble Hospital, Pediatric Glidescope – will be used in the Emergency Department for intubation of pediatric patients, $10,000.00
Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Pediatric Ultrasound Transducer – used for neonatal head, pediatric abdomen, pediatric hip, renal, and pelvic imaging, $10,000.00

Carthage Area Hospital, Bililight System & Biliblanket System – used to treat newborns with jaundice, $6,725.00

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Infa Warmer – used in the Birth Center to keep infants warm, $10,000.00

Lewis County General Hospital, Isolette – used to provide high performance thermoregulation for newborns, $10,000.00

Massena Memorial Hospital, Autism Training – will offer healthcare providers, first responders, and safety personnel training on caring for children with Autism, $2,982.00

River Hospital, Surgical Headlight System – to be used to enhance Ear, Nose, and Throat services through the Ambulatory Surgical Unit, $5,915.00

North Country Family Health Center, Inc. (North Country Children’s Clinic), Equipment Strengthening –various equipment for the Jefferson County clinic including a Dental Processor, Lap Top, vaccine freezer, digital scales, an infant scale, height rods, and a refrigerator. $9,971.54


Representatives from recipient healthcare organizations are pictured with Samaritan Medical Center CEO, Tom Carman, and CMN Development Manager, Morgan Bocciolatt. From Left to Right: Stacie Woodward (Director of Imaging, Canton Potsdam Hospital) Tom Carman, Barb Robison (North Country Family Health Center), Jackie Lavarnway (North Country Family Health Center), Joey Marie Horton (Interim Executive Director of North Country Family Health Center), Deana Page (Vice President of Clinical Services at Canton Potsdam Hospital and Interim Chief Operating Officer at EJ Noble Hospital), Andrea Bates (Director of Marketing & Community Relations at River Hospital), Sue Kennedy (Obstetrics Nurse Manager at Carthage Area Hospital), Cindy Clusen (Foundation Director, Claxton Hepburn Medical Center), Natalie Burnham (Foundation Director, Carthage Area Hospital), Julia Rose (Executive Director of Massena Memorial Hospital Foundation), and Morgan Bocciolatt.


December 10, 2013
Contact: Lynn Pietroski, President & CEO
Phone: (315) 788-4400
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thomas H. Carman receives the 2013 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award

Watertown, NY – The Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Thomas H. Carman has been selected as the 2013 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award recipient. This is the 62nd annual prestigious Shapiro award presented and sponsored by the Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce, MYABC 50/The North Country CW, and Arnold I. Shapiro and family.

Mr. Carman is the President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center, Jefferson County's largest private employer, employing over 2,300 people. Within the past year SMC has recruited 20+ physicians to the North Country. He encourages and expects his leadership team to be involved. Additionally, he encourages all staff to be active citizens, often affording them the time and support needed in order to do so. Beth Fipps shared her thoughts as a member of the Samaritan team that “Tom walks the walk when it comes to community involvement. He has created a culture of community partnership and collaboration for Samaritan.”

Above all, Mr. Carman dedicates countless hours (above and beyond the work day) making the North Country a better place to live, while encouraging his staff and family members to do the same. His inner drive motivates him to always reach out and help. His accomplishments are numerous and are often the result of his innate foresight and ability to bring stakeholders together to collaborate and offer the best possible solution for the community. Among those contributions are:

  • Chairman of the Jefferson County Heart Walk
  • Secretary of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization
  • Member and Past President of the Watertown Noon Rotary
  • YMCA Board Member and Immediate Past President
  • Member of the NNY Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
  • Member and Past Chairman of the Iroquois Healthcare Association
  • Member of the Central New York Regional Advisory Board of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Founding Member and Charter President and currently serving his second term as chairman of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO)
  • Past Chairman of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce
  • and so many more...


According to Mr. Carman's nominator, Lisa Weber, CEO of Timeless Frames, Expressions & Decor and Athena Award past recipient, Tom has a keen understanding of what it takes to build a strong community including the need to strengthen the three cornerstones: schools, churches and hospitals. His citizenship and community engagement far exceeds the bar set by many other CEOs who often just focus internally on their facilities and not externally on making the community a better place for its residents to live.

His community engagement can be especially seen through his involvement with Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO). According to Denise Young, Executive Director of FDRHPO, “Tom Carman was instrumental in the creation of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. His vision and personal commitment has led the organization to far surpass all original expectations. Under his leadership the organization has grown to a seven hospital and multiple community partner initiative that far surpasses the reach of just Samaritan Medical Center and his day job." While assisting FDRHPO, he aided in the achievement of bringing more than $84 million in master-planned upgrades to the five hospitals in the Fort Drum health service area. This was done to meet the needs of a growing population of Soldiers, families and civilian residents, Four newly licensed and operational outpatient mental health clinics, an additional 70 Tricare credentialed behavioral health providers and over $16 million secured for technology infrastructure upgrades to connect healthcare facilities and clinics surrounding Fort Drum to increase access to care and improve the coordination and quality of healthcare. Mrs. Young says, "Tom has never hesitated to give up his personal time to benefit the FDRHPO and the mission to serve both the military and civilian community including late night and early morning meetings even when on vacation. His sacrifices for the benefit of the Fort Drum region are given selflessly never caring who gets credit only caring that the people are served with respect and dignity.”

Among the many others who brought his nomination into fruition were, NYS Senator Patty Ritchie who stated, "With a passion not only for health care—but also for the North Country—Mr. Carman has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership and under that leadership, those who call our region home have benefitted greatly." and John B. Johnson JR., Chairman of the Board of the Watertown Daily Times wrote, "Tom Carman is the first name suggested whenever advice or help is needed to further a community project, because it is well known that his dedication is unmatched." And lastly from the words of his nominator, Lisa Weber, "Tom Carman arrived in Watertown and has been an agent of change. Because of Tom our community is forever changed into a better, stronger, healthier place. He is most deserving of the Shapiro Award."

The award will be formally presented at a dinner hosted by the Greater Watertown –North Country Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, February 6, 2014, at Savory Downtown, Watertown, with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6:00pm, followed by dinner and program at 7:00pm. Reservations can be made by contacting the Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce at (315)788-4400, online at or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. RSVP by Jan 27, 2014. Seating is Limited.

The award was established by Arnold I. Shapiro to honor the memory of his father, a long time business leader in the community. A director of the Chamber at the time of his father’s death in 1952, Mr. Shapiro sensed a need in Watertown for a symbolic annual recognition of exceptional leadership on behalf of our city. Over the years, the award has been presented to many deserving individuals for their contributions and service to our community.

This award is made on the basis of outstanding citizenship or for outstanding contribution in civic or social welfare activity. Entries were judged on five key areas (outstanding citizenship, achievement, leadership, dedication, and motivation) by a panel of past Shapiro Recipients.

On November 22, five members of Clarkson University’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon presented a check in the amount of $2,379.00 to Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York. On October 31, the fraternity hosted a benefit concert featuring four musical groups which, according to organizers, was the most well attended on-campus event aside from commencement ceremonies.

Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for its 170 member hospitals, including Samaritan Medical Center. All contributions to Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan benefit children in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by helping to purchase medical equipment for Samaritan and other hospitals located in the tri-county region. In addition, Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan is one of only five hospitals that provide direct assistance to families with children in a medical crisis. For more information, contact the Children’s Miracle Network office at 785-4053.

Samaritan Medical Center will host a lighted vigil in the Samaritan Healing Garden Rotunda as part of a national campaign to raise awareness for lung cancer on November 14th at 5:30 p.m. Watertown will join more than 90 communities across the nation in hosting a ‘Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil’ in partnership with the Lung Cancer Alliance.

‘Shine a Light On Lung Cancer Vigil’ is an annual event that occurs simultaneously nationwide. This year, communities in more than 30 states will participate in the event, which is designed to provide hope, support and compassion to the thousands who are diagnosed with lung cancer.
The vigil at Samaritan Medical Center will be a tribute to anyone who has been touched by lung cancer and will feature Jeff Cole as the emcee, comments from Dr. Robert Johnson, thoracic surgeon; Bonnie Trudeau, RN, Samaritan Oncology Nurse Navigator; and the personal testament from a local lung cancer survivor. The vigil is open to the community.

About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer kills more Americans than breast, colon and prostate cancers—combined. It is the leading cause of cancer death nationally and in New York. Nearly, 80 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer are people who have never smoked or former smokers who quit decades ago. Today, there is scientific validation that screening those at high risk with low-dose CT scans can save tens of thousands of lives a year, and recently a government panel recommended lung cancer screenings for populations considered at high risk.

About the Samaritan Circle of Hope Cancer Awareness Committee
The Samaritan Medical Center Circle of Hope Cancer Fund raisers and allocates funds toward improving the health and well-being of cancer patients throughout Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
About Lung Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer Alliance, is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education and support. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.

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