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St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center®: Caring for Patients with Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence

St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center

When you swallow your food, it goes down the gastrointestinal tract to help your body break down and absorb food to create energy. Physicians with St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® are working round the clock on diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases associated with your digestive system. Proceeding with a holistic approach to patient care, St. Francis Hospital is equipped with the latest diagnostic technologies, medical therapies and highly trained GI surgeons to deliver tailor-made treatments to your digestive concerns.

Resembling these objectives, Christopher J. DiMaio, (Chair, Department of Gastroenterology) is an expert physician and researcher specializing in the study and treatment of the digestive system, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and techniques to improve patient outcomes. Gary Gecelter, (Chair, Department of Surgery) is utilizing his experience in endoscopic procedures and complex surgical interventions with a comprehensive approach to gastrointestinal health. Together, they are committed to providing 24*7 care to patients in need. Both of them believe in equipping their teams with the latest technology and techniques to perform minimally invasive procedures and complex surgeries with precision and care.

Let’s dive in to learn about the operations behind the success of St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® in delivering reliable GI care.

Stepping into GI

Dr. DiMaio was inspired to enter the field of GI for both medical and science reasons. He finds fulfilment in helping his patients to manage multiple diseases of different body organs. He defines GI as a procedural-based specialty. Dr. DiMaio says he is grateful for the personal side of developing long-term relationships with the patients he cares for.

Dr. Gecelter, being a surgical gastroenterologist, has always been amazed by the quality of life and overall benefits his surgeries have facilitated the patients. He mentions this as an influential factor in choosing his career.

Serving the Community

St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® is dedicated to serving the community by offering high-quality GI care services. Guided by its core values of integrity, compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence, the organization strives to heal patients holistically – addressing both physical and spiritual needs. Their board-certified gastroenterologists and surgeons employ state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and cutting-edge techniques to ensure effective treatment for gastrointestinal disorders.

With a commitment to continuous improvement, they constantly evaluate and enhance their care measures to provide the best possible outcomes for patients. Recognized for their exceptional care, the hospital’s mission is to bring Christ’s healing mission to life by offering compassionate and innovative healthcare solutions.

Dr. DiMaio joined St. Francis Hospital for the opportunity to work alongside outstanding clinicians and experts, particularly in surgery and oncology, while being able to bring cutting-edge techniques to patients.

Dr. Gecelter appreciates the sentiment of gratitude expressed by the patients daily, as well as his colleagues’ commitment to patient care.

Core Values

At St. Francis Hospital, every member of the St. Francis team is committed to our I-CARE Values: Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence. Dr. Gecelter explains, “We continuously work toward sustainability of excellence in patient experience to enhance communication and improve outcomes.”

St. Francis Hospital recruits and hires the best and most innovative clinical leaders to care for patients. The clinical staff is also focused on expanding their research and education efforts, aiming to be at the forefront of new technologies and services in the industry. They work diligently to ensure that their patients receive the safest and highest quality of care possible.

Delivering Excellence

The medical facility boasts a team of board-certified gastroenterologists known for their exceptional care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders. They specialize in providing both non-surgical and surgical treatments to meet the diverse needs of their patients.

Furthermore, the gastroenterologists are adept at performing essential procedures such as colonoscopy and endoscopy. These services are made available not only for hospitalized patients but also for those seeking outpatient care, making it convenient for all.

In addition to the gastroenterologists, the hospital is home to surgeons with remarkable expertise in handling complex procedures, particularly colon resection. Their skills and knowledge enable them to cater to the needs of patients requiring advanced surgical interventions.

With a strong focus on providing excellence in care, the medical team at St. Francis remains committed to delivering the highest quality services to all patients seeking treatment for gastrointestinal disorders.

Role of Compassion in Care

“Working with our GI teams in the Endoscopy Suite and the Operating Rooms, the nurses and their associates have often been singled out as exemplary caregivers who deliver care as if the patients were family members,” says Dr. Gecelter.

Leveraging Advanced Technology

Ever since Dr. DiMaio started out at St. Francis, his approach has been to bring the latest technological tools and most advanced endoscopic techniques to the patients, to provide cutting-edge care. He explains, “Examples of machinery include the confocal laser endomicroscopy to assist in the diagnosis of cancerous pancreatic cysts, radiofrequency ablation for the endoscopic treatment of bile duct and pancreatic cancers, and new closure devices to allow for non-surgical repair of leaks, fistulas and GI bleeding.”

In addition to this, Dr. Gecelter emphasizes that the technologies at St. Francis include the most complex and contemporary pieces to allow the identification of minute tumors in the GI tract, look into the smallest structures, and relive symptoms with the most up-to-date modalities supporting efficient GI care.

Scaling 2023 and Beyond

The current endeavours of St. Francis include a focus on the quality of performance, while continuously cross examining the work. Dr. DiMaio ensures this by asking questions like, “Are we incorporating practices that fit with published guidelines?” “Are our outcomes at an acceptable level compared to national standards?” “What can we do to better prevent adverse events in the endoscopy suite?”

The vision for scaling St. Francis Hospital from the eyes of Dr. DiMaio is the prioritization of growth. This will be achieved by the active recruitment of trained professionals and experts in the GI field. This expertise will include aspects of Gastroenterologists who specialize in areas including gastroenterology, hepatology and endoscopy. The initiative to hire skilled nurses, technicians and advanced practice providers for the team is accompanied by this vision.

The established statistics for patient treatment for GI disorders at St. Francis Hospital are 98% better than other hospitals in the country which has led to increased patient interest in the services provided by the hospital.

Achieving a 24th Position in the Industry

The testament to outstanding physicians and nurses who combine compassionate care with cutting-edge techniques to provide exceptional care to the patients is the latest recognitions of St. Francis Hospital – ranking Gastroenterology and GI Surgery #24 in the U.S. and are the highest-ranked on Long Island by U.S. News and World Report.

Along with this, St. Francis Hospital is also endorsed by patients as said by Dr. Gecelter, “I receive over 100 letters of gratitude annually in which patients express the sentiment that reflects how our team made their life better. It is not about individual doctors. It is about the whole team.”



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