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Dr. Morris Stampher recalls transformation of city hospital over the decades

Jacobi Medical Center celebrates 60th anniversary

Bronx Times
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Jacobi Medical Center, a fixture in the northeast Bronx and beyond, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015.

Dr. Morris Stampher’s career as a cardiologist at the hospital nearly spans Jacobi’s entire history.

When he first began as a medical student in 1959, Jacobi was a community and teaching hospital.

It gradually evolved into a regional medical center known for treating serious trauma.

Speaking about how things were when he began, Dr. Stampher said the medical floors had separate dedicated areas for men and women, each hospital room accomodated six patients, there was just one bathroom per floor and air conditioning was not an option.

When he began working in the hospital in 1961 as part of his medical training, it was the hottest summer on record at that point, and everyone was sweating it out, he said.

“The patients were the community, the neighborho­od,” he said of when he started. “This was really the community hospital for Morris Park and Pelham Parkway.”

Dr. Stampher recalls it being very busy during his internship, and during that time he said he would see at least five new patients in a shift, and would follow them through the hospital as they received care.

He graduated from medical school in 1963, and went to work at Jacobi for about three decades before starting a private practice in New Rochelle, NY. He returned to Jacobi in 2006.

During that time, Jacobi Medical Center blossomed into the regional medical center it is today, as part of the city’s sprawling Health and Hospitals Corporation.

The doctor said that while the practice of medicine at Jacobi has changed over the years, it remains a teaching hospital, in conjunction with Montefiore.

“What we do today is a little different than what we did then,” said Dr. Stampher. “The technology has vastly improved; the physical facilities are incredibly advanced compared to what we lived with at that time.”

But one thing has not changed, he said.

“I think that the Jacobi spirit is still here,” said the doctor. “I think we have a very strong team here…who work together to take care of the patients, take care of their families and to have a presence in this community.”

The doctor said that his mentor, Dr. Milford Fulop, who practiced at Jacobi his entire career from 1955 until he retired earlier this year, was the faculty member that brought him back to the college and the medical center about ten years ago.

Originally Jacobi was established to provide a tertiary care facility and a teaching hospital on a tree-lined campus away from urban congestion, according to a written history provided by a Jacobi spokesman.

The 64-acre parcel was purchased by the Department of Hospitals, a forerunner of the Health and Hospital Corp. in 1949.

The property was occupied at the time by a large truck farm and several homes.

The site’s existing streets were demapped and the homes were either moved or demolished to make way for the hospital.

When Jacobi was fully opened in 1955, it included an 898-bed facility for acute care, called Jacobi Hospital,

A year before, a 500-bed hospital for chronic tuberculosis care at Van Etten Hospital, now part of Jacobi, had opened.

Today, Jacobi Medical Center’s campus encompasses six buildings, plus three Einstein facilities, and an Emergency Medical Services garage run by the Fire Department, a spokesman said.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Posted 12:00 am, December 8, 2015
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