News & Events (85)

April 9, 2014

Watertown, New York ----- Dr. Kevin Biglan, a published expert and researcher in the field of Parkinson disease, will be speaking on Saturday, April 12th from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at Samaritan Summit Village. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Biglan is an Associate Professor of Neurology and the Associate Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York. He also serves as Director of the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence and Director of the Huntington Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at the University of Rochester.

Since 2007, Dr. Biglan has been actively involved in the development of telemedicine for the provision of care in patients with Parkinson disease. Over the last six years, he has established a telemedicine network centered at the University of Rochester with two spoke sites located at the long-term care facilities at the Presbyterian Home in New Harford and at the Susquehanna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Johnson City. He has been at the forefront of establishing the feasibility of telemedicine in Parkinson disease and Huntington disease, the expansion of its use for clinical care, and the validation of clinical trial outcomes assessed via telemedicine.

Telemedicine offers a unique opportunity for senior care in the community and is something that Samaritan’s Vice President of Long-Term Care Services sees as a benefit for Residents in Samaritan’s two nursing homes. “Telemedicine capabilities will make available a level of expertise in these movement disorders that otherwise would not be available without long distance travel,” explains Tony Joseph. “After having worked closely with Dr. Biglan in the past, I’ve seen first-hand how this can benefit our Residents. It is a service we are working diligently to implement here in Watertown.”

Dr. Biglan’s current research interests focus on identifying clinical phenotypes in pre-manifest Huntington’s disease, identifying disease modifying therapies in Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and enhancing the delivery of care to patients with chronic neurodegenerative disorders.

For more information about Dr. Biglan’s presentation, please call Samaritan Summit Village at 785- 4422.

News Release #14-008

March 26, 2014

Watertown, New York ----- Carthage Area Hospital and Samaritan Medical Center today announced plans to form an affiliation.

Leadership and Boards of Carthage Area Hospital and Samaritan Medical Center, in consultation with the New York State Department of Health, have been in discussions about how Samaritan Medical Center could assist Carthage Area Hospital to stabilize its finances, as well as to create a collaborative partnership to enhance the healthcare delivery system for the region.

These discussions have resulted in Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Samaritan Medical Center and Carthage Area Hospital, which establishes a contractual relationship between the two organizations that will ultimately result in a formal affiliation. To finalize the affiliation, Samaritan Medical Center and Carthage Area Hospital will move forward to complete the required due diligence and Certificate of Need process.

“Our management teams will work closely together over the next several months to explore options and to identify strategies to enhance the long-term viability of Carthage Area Hospital and healthcare in the region,” explains Adil Ameer, Carthage Area Hospital Strategic Advisor/Interim CEO.

“Both organizations play crucial roles in the community in terms of access to healthcare services and economic impact,” states Thomas H. Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center. “It is critical to the entire North Country that we work together to develop a long-term solution for a sustainable healthcare system throughout the region. This is the first step to accomplishing that goal.”

One leadership change will occur at Carthage Area Hospital. Adil Ameer will step down from his role as Interim CEO at Carthage Area Hospital and will serve in a consultative capacity, effective Monday, March 31, 2014. That role will remain unfilled until the formal affiliation is finalized.

News Release #14-008 

Contact: Natalie Burnham, CAH
(315) 493-0114

Krista Kittle, SMC
(315) 785-4504

March 25, 2014

Watertown, New York -----The Sleep Disorders Center of Northern New York at Samaritan Medical Center has been re-accredited for another five years by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). The AASM accreditation is the gold standard by which the medical community and public can evaluate the services provided by a sleep center. Currently, only one percent of all sleep labs located in the United States is accredited.

“We are the only accredited sleep center in the tri-county area,” states Dr. David Rechlin, Sleep Center Medical Director. “We are a sleep center, not just a sleep lab. Sleep centers provide ongoing care of patients with all sleep disorders, while sleep labs provide only testing for patients with sleep disordered breathing,” he added.

All sleep centers are required to have one registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) on staff. SMC currently has three, which allows coverage both day and night.

Numerous sleep disorders exist including obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, insomnia, and central sleep apnea. Untreated sleep disorders can lead to heart attacks, impotence, stroke, and even death. Some studies suggest 40 percent of adults in the United States have some type of sleep disorder. Even snoring is a warning sign of a sleep disorder. Many people do not realize they have a sleep disorder unless brought to their attention by a spouse or significant other. It is estimated of the ten million with sleep apnea alone, 90 percent are undiagnosed and only about one percent are seen by a physician.

SMC currently tests up to six patients per night, seven days a week. If you believe you or a loved one might have a sleep disorder, discuss with your physician.

For more information about sleep disorders, please call the Sleep Disorders Center at 315-786-4930 or visit our Sleep Disorders Center web page.

News Release #14-007
Contact: Janelle Bossuot
(315) 779-5230


Renee Waterbury, Samaritan Auxiliary Board President presented a check for $51,307.38 to Thomas H. Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center, Dr. Alejandro Rodriguez, Chief of Urology and Urologic Oncology - Director of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery, and Cheryl Fazio, Director of Surgical Services at Samaritan, from the proceeds of the 2013 One Night, One Diamond event held March 23, 2013 at The Commons on Fort Drum, toward the purchase of equipment to support Samaritan Medical Center's daVinci Robotic Surgery program.  The equipment will perform single site surgeries to be used by multiple specialty surgeons, instrument sterilization trays for the single site robotic surgery, vessel sealer upgrade that allows surgeon to cut and seal tissues with the same instrument, thereby saving time for both the surgeon and patient and several other supporting pieces of equipment for this service. 

Picture above from left to right are:  Cheryl Fazio - Director of Surgical Services at Samaritan, Renee Waterbury - Samaritan Auxiliary Board President, Thomas H. Carman - President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center, Dr. Alejandro Rodriguez - Chief of Urology and Urologic Oncology and Director of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Elizabeth Fipps - Vice President, Foundation and Community Services of Samaritan Medical Center Foundation of Northern New York, Inc.


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!

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