Southampton Hospital celebrated the official opening of the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center’s private entrance on Thursday, April 30. Hospital administrators were joined by other local officials, as well as some members of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation.
In front of the new entryway, many gathered to offer their thoughts on how crucial such a facility is to the community. The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center opened at the hospital in 2009 with the purpose of becoming a state-of-the-art facility for the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that also offers counseling services, and it was only recently that the center received its own door and sign for easier, more direct access.
“This is truly the jewel and crown of this little hospital,” said Robert S. Chaloner, Southampton Hospital’s president and CEO, adding jokingly that he will miss directing people to the center with the help of little pink booties on the hospital’s floor. “It’s a chance to open up a door of new opportunities.”
Dr. Fred Weinbaum, chief medical officer at the hospital, commended the center for all the work it has done for women throughout the region, including his wife. “So far, three years later, she is completely free of the disease,” Dr. Weinbaum said. “I’m personally grateful to my colleagues.”
Julie Ratner, president and co-founder of the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which has worked with Southampton Hospital to help fund much of the equipment in the center, stressed how important it is that the center exists, especially now, with its own entryway.
“It’s right here. It takes us right in. It’s direct access to quality care in the community,” Ms. Ratner said. “I look at the sign, and I’m moved to tears.”
Breast cancer survivor Theresa Dargis described her personal experience with the center, where just five years ago she went for an ultrasound and learned she had the disease.
“When I had my surgery, I knew I had the best team available. I knew I was being taken care of,” Ms. Dargis said. She explained that all women in the community will appreciate having the facility close to home. “They get the best care possible [there]. We are so grateful. It’s a journey, but we’re not alone.”