Neil’s Story:  After Falling Off a Roof, a Carpenter Makes a Remarkable Recovery

Neil Ericksen, a 61-year-old carpenter and Broadway set builder who lives in Hurley, is lucky to be alive. He credits his miraculous recovery to HealthAlliance Hospital and the doctors and nurses at Westchester Medical Center.

Neil suffered severe injuries when he fell off a neighbor’s roof while trying to fix a leak. He was initially brought to HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston and was then transported to Westchester Medical Center for treatment. Neil spent two months in a medically induced coma there due to brain injuries. He also had severe injuries to his shoulder and arm.

“I know that I fell 25 feet and that my girlfriend found me,” he said. “I don’t remember much else except waking up months later at Westchester Medical Center.”

What Neil does remember is the kindness and skill of the nurses at Westchester Medical Center. “The severity of the accident was such that I am very lucky to be alive. I can walk and talk, and that is a miracle. The nurses were very caring and experienced,” he said. “They were absolutely selfless and dedicated.”

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Lisa’s Story: Compassionate Care from Behavioral Health at MidHudson Regional Hospital Inspires Her to Help Others

Lisa Ricci is grateful to WMC Health’s Behavioral Health Center at MidHudson Regional Hospital for helping her to overcome mental health issues and giving her the chance to help others who struggle with addiction and mental illness.

Lisa, 38, of Pleasant Valley, was 14 years old when she began to feel the urge to harm herself. But it wasn’t until she was 24 and had a serious traumatic experience that she became unstable. She was first hospitalized in 2010 and over the next year was hospitalized three times. Eventually, Lisa entered an intensive outpatient program at HealthAlliance Hospital where she was able to get the help she needed to turn her life around.

Today, Lisa is a mentor and group leader with People USA and leads a peer group at MidHudson Regional Hospital three days a week. She recently earned her certification as a recovery peer advocate.

“I advocate for people with mental health issues and substance abuse. It’s very rewarding. What I have to offer is very special because I can say ‘I get it. I know what it’s like to be there.’”

Now, Lisa is the one who is helping others turn their lives around. Are there days when she feels down? Yes, she says.

“Recovery is not aways linear,” she said. “But now I have the skills to cope with the challenges.”

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Michael’s Story: Swift Care and Coordination Save the Life of a 68-Year-Old Man with a Heart Arrhythmia

Michael Wartman said if there is one thing he has learned from his experience at Margaretville Hospital, it is that teamwork makes all the difference in a medical emergency.

“I can’t say enough about everyone who helped me,’’ said Wartman, 68 of Baltimore, MD. “From the exceptional healthcare team at Margaretville Hospital to the first responders who literally carried me across the field to the helicopter. I was very lucky.”

Wartman, who is an avid runner, was visiting his close friend in Margaretville on Columbus Day weekend when he went for a run. As he was running down a steep driveway, he suddenly felt dizzy and fainted. When he returned to his friend’s house, they took his blood pressure. It was so high that they immediately headed for the Emergency Department at Margaretville Hospital. 

Wartman said that after doctors stabilized him, an ambulance took him to a field where they airlifted him to HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston. There, doctors discovered that he had an arrythmia.

“My family has a history of heart disease, so I am glad that doctors were able to diagnose the problem,” said Wartman. He is now back home and is on medication, has returned to running, and says he feels healthier than ever.

“I’m very grateful,” he said. “I would urge anyone to donate to help the hospital. They certainly deserve it.”

Please give to Margaretville Hospital today!


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Jessica’s Story: Mom and Twins Survive High-Risk Pregnancy and Premature Birth and are Now Thriving

Jessica Franjul-Pena is grateful for the care she and her twins, Ethan Lorenzo and Katalina, received at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network.

Because Jessica conceived through in vitro fertilization, she was monitored closely from the start of her pregnancy. When she was eighteen weeks pregnant, Jessica was diagnosed with chronic hypertension. She was immediately referred to a maternal medicine specialist at Westchester Medical Center. Ultrasound monitoring also later revealed that one of the twins was not thriving as she should have been, and doctors decided to watch the babies even more closely.  

“I had great doctors,’’ said Jessica. “They were really on top of my case, monitoring me and the babies every step of the way.”

Thirty-three weeks into her pregnancy, Jessica’s doctors discovered her liver enzymes were dangerously high. She had developed superimposed preeclampsia, putting both her and the babies at risk. At that point, her medical team decided it would be safest to induce labor even though the babies would be premature. The twins were born on December 21, 2023 and were sent to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Ethan spent 11 days in the NICU and Katalina spent 24 days there.  

“The NICU experience was amazing. Everyone was always so kind. It’s such a difficult job but they always remained friendly and helpful. There’s a lot to learn in caring for a preemie. They teach you so much,” Jessica said.

Now, Jessica, Ethan Lorenzo, and Katalina are all doing well.

Please give to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital today!


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Support Women’s Health Services at WMCHealth for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day when you shop at DeCicco’s & Sons you can support Critical Care Services at Westchester Medical Center Health Network.  Funds from your donations go to support Women’s Health Services such as Maternity, Labor and Delivery services. These services are key to providing a healthy start for new moms and babies like Jessica Franjul-Pena who delivered her twins Ethan Lorenzo and Katalina at Westchester Medical Center.

“I had great doctors,“ said Jessica. “They were really on top of my case, monitoring me and the babies every step of the way.“

When you shop at DeCicco & Sons from April 28 – May 12, 2024 you can donate $1, $5 or $10 or more to WMCHealth’s Critical Care Services to help nurture new beginnings.

ShopRite Raises $92,000 for WMCHealth during Winter Fundraiser

Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is grateful for the support of longtime partner and sponsor ShopRite.

During its winter fundraiser, ShopRite collected more than $92,000 in donations from shoppers at its 27 area locations. The money will go to support programs and services throughout the WMCHealth network.